What I weigh out tragedy, like butcher’s meat?
– Xanthias in Aristophanes’ Frogs
It started like any other night for our three Athenians in Kassel, but it would end in tragedy. Sitting in their cozy house, Nina and the documenta 14 official were doing some ’embodying’ research after finishing off their report, while Bia with immersed in some ‘witnessing’ research she had to catch up on from earlier that day.
Bia was watching 14 simultaneous episodes of Game of Thrones, which was driving her slightly crazy as she hated this overrated show. At the same time, Nina and the documenta 14 official were, as far as we can tell, embodying a documentary about ancient comic and tragic masks, contorting their faces into humorous and miserable caricatured shapes.
All was calm in their tiny house when suddenly they received a video-call from Alexis on Bia’s computer. He looked terrible, his mouth was bloody and he was shaking as he spoke:
“Fellow Athenians, I need your help. I have been kidnapped by a group of Neo-Viennese Actionists who are using me as a piece of meat for some kind of art-performance, blood-letting ritual at the Tofufabrik. They told me they were outraged by this old factory for a vegetarian meat-substitute being used as a venue for documenta 14 and wanted to make a statement about the importance of killing and eating meat in human culture, even resorting to cannibalism. They have tied me to a bed in what looks like a hospital room at the back of the building, you can find it if you look for this sign on the door.’ He turns his phone around to show them the sign.
“Hold tight, we’re coming to get you!”, shouted Bia, her mind still spinning from so much blood and violence of her Game of Thrones witnessing research.
“Wait”, Alexis implored, “You can’t just walk in here like that, you need a strategy. My captors have timed their bloody ritual for a party, ironically held by documenta 14 as part of their weekly club night To The Floor.” Alexis held up a poster of the event:
“You need to come, dressed up for a night out and pretend that you are here for the party. Dance a little and then try to find me. It is the only way not to be discovered – you have to look like you’re actually enjoying yourselves, otherwise they’ll know you’re here to save me. Please come quickly!”
“Ok, we’re on it”, Nina said, already slipping on her best dancing shoes.
A few minutes later, Bia, Nina and the documenta 14 officer arrived at the Tofufabrik.
It was already light outside as entered into the dark space.
The music was pumping and they immediately hit the dance-floor, trying to blend in.
While the music was blasting, while Bia and Nina were doing their best to present to dance, their valiant friend, the documenta 14 official, looked around to see any clues as to where Alexis was being held.
He saw a group of people huddled in front of a screen, watching a sinister film called Commensal by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. It seemed to be part of the terrifying ritual lying in wait for Alexis as it showed the making of a manga-style comic about cannibalism.
He saw a door in the corner of the room, grabbed Nina and Bia, and the three of them surreptitiously danced over to it. This was it! It had the fake hospital sign that Alexis had shown them in the video.
They opened the door, slowly, and stepped inside.
To be continued…