Three Athenians in Kassel, Episode Seven: The Conquest of Universal Harmony

Vrekekekex koax koax, vrekekekex koax koax! We, the children of the lakes and the bubbly springs, in harmony, let’s sing! Vrekekekex koax koax, vrekekekex koax koax.

– Chorus of Frogs in Aristophanes’ Frogs

Last time on Three Athenians in Kassel:

Alexis has been kidnapped by a group of Neo-Viennese Actionists who want to sacrifice him at a former Tofu factory to attack documenta 14’s reuse of this key site for the meat-substitute industry. Bia, Nina and the documenta 14 official have to go to a club night in the same building, pretending to dance and have fun, as they secretly look for their endangered friend. Finally they find the door to the room where Alexis is being held, holding their collective breath, they enter…

“Mmmm, this is tasty”, says Nina, “Can you pass the salt?”, she asks, chewing heartily.

We are suddenly back in the tiny house of our three Athenians, where they seem to be having dinner. They have a guest, who we shall call Gustave:

“This is delicious. Thank you for inviting me. So, you wanted to know how I became a Neo-Viennese Actionist and how I was involved with the group who were planning to eat your friend?”, he asks, slicing into a slab of tender meat on his plate.”Well, let me tell you”. Gustave stood up and with a look of anguish on his face, began to tell his story:

“So, it all started back in France when as a Political Science student I went in search for alternatives to global capitalism and joined up with a group called The Children of Jean Journet. We preached a utopian brand of socialism with the aim of generating social harmony. One of our group was a cannibal, as he believed that eating capitalists was the most symbolic way to destroy their ideology. He boasted about eating more than five millionaires and one billionaire. Some of us were uncomfortable with his approach to our political quest for universal harmony, but others wanted to take it to another level. That is when we all came to Kassel. We wanted to target this mega exhibition that we saw as exploiting the people of this poor German provincial town, as symptomatic of voracious Greek capitalist policies. We targeted your group, as you were wealthy Athenians, who were spreading your capitalist ideology as part of your degenerate performance. Once we’d kidnapped your friend, the cannibal faction in our group wanted to eat him to make our point as clear as possible. They had planned on filming the whole gruesome event and streaming it on Periscope.”

At that point everyone stopped eating and just stared at Gustave in knowing disgust.

“Have you seen the terracotta reliefs by the Gandhian activist and artist K. G. Subramanyan in the Neue Galerie? Well, his so-called Anatomy Lessons were the cannibal’s model for the ceremony and sacrifice.

All of Alexis’ body parts would be first cut off and then ordered again before the feast. This way the symbolism of the capitalistic commodification could be made explicit in the ritual. However, before we could start, several of us resisted, arguing that he wasn’t a fully-fledged millionaire. Yes, we knew he was well-connected and his father owned multi-story parking lots across Athens, but still, he wasn’t our main target. That was when you burst in, while we were having this heated debate. Why were some of us not willing to put our beliefs to the test to end global capitalism? Why were some of us using the quest for universal harmony as a way of sating their perverse culinary tastes?”

“Well, I’m just happy that your side won the debate in the end”, interrupted Alexis, sipping a glass of wine, “you really saved my bacon!”

“The fight isn’t over. I am sure the cannibal-faction of The Children of Jean Journet will want their revenge for my humiliating them by helping your friends rescue you. I will have to leave Kassel immediately”.

“You could go undercover?”, Nina suggested. “You look very similar to many of the documenta 14 officials here in Kassel, you could easily pass for one of them”

“If you think it will work, I could give it a try. Thank you all for the idea. So, what do you guys think capitalism can be replaced with?”

Everyone laughed and continued their delicious dinner.

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