Category Archives: documenta 14

This man of ours that was but now so blustering and warlike, he who won’t permit that women wear their hair full length, lies sprawled out weeping. – Sosias in Menander’s Perikeiromene After their close encounter with cannibals, life was getting back to normal for our three Athenians in Kassel. Alexis was still recovering from […]

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 […]

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 […]

Oh happy, happy, happy me, I understand arseophony! Anyone who knows the ins and outs of a gnat’s arse is going to find it easy to get off a criminal charge.  – Strepsiades in Aristophanes’ Clouds When our three Athenians in their tiny house are not working at their tedious day-jobs, spending their days-off sleeping […]

I made no count of anything, letting them bring it in there, they’re accustomed to disparage me for everything. The amount cannot be found, in any case… – Smikrines in Menander’s Aspis Every day, directly after their performance, one of our three Athenians has to meet with a documenta 14 official in their tiny house […]

I dreamt too, an extraordinary dream. But tell yours first. – Sosias in Aristophanes’ Wasps Our three Athenians work six days a week in Kassel, from Tuesday to Sunday, studying, preparing and performing for documenta 14, while also enduring their tedious day jobs to make ends meet. Their only day off each week is Monday. […]

She’s off on her daily routine of sacrificing! every day a sacrifice of some sort for her! This god one day, that god the next, god only knows to what god she’s sacrificing today. – Sostratos in Menander’s Dyskolos It is the start of a typical day for our three Athenians in their tiny house […]

Do you see that little door and that small house over there? – Strepsiades in Aristophanes’ Clouds Three Athenians (let us call them Bia, Alexis and Nina) live together in a tiny house on the outskirts of Kassel. They are here to work at Documenta, the exhibition that this small German city hosts every five […]

07:11     Wake up in my room at the Hessenland Days Inn, the same hotel where Enrique Vila-Matas stayed during dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012 (when it was called the Grand City Hotel, Hessenland), and where Gerald Byrne’s film A man and a woman make love was shown in the ballroom. 07:16     Look out window at the […]

There was no way that documenta 14 was ever going to compete with its predecessor on the scale of its intervention in the expansive terrain of Karlsaue Park. Some fifty plus artworks were scattered across the park during dOCUMENTA  (13), which made this the most densely populated space for works as well as of visitors, turning a quiet stroll in the park into a mass treasure hunt for art lovers.

The morning I spent at Karlsaue Park today, however, was a mixture of frustration and excitement as I combined my visits to the 4 works of documenta 14 (by Cuidad Abierta, Olaf Holzapfel, Benjamin Patterson and Lois Weinberger – pictured) with a foolhardy quest for remnants of works from five years ago.

But what this combined search for traces of past works and this year’s four pieces taught me was that one of the major strengths of documenta 14, as generated by its split between Athens and Kassel, is that it allows the artworks of one site to forge a contingent relationship with other works elsewhere, either in Athens, Kassel or both. Furthermore, each of the four works shared the form of some kind of structure which had the effect of contingency in a different way: they all demanded some form of mediation from the visitor to be activated, understood and appreciated. In other words, each work caused visitors to triangulate between what they encountered in the park and works on other sites. Of course, this is not to say that certain networks and connections between objects and artists were not deployed at dOCUMENTA (13)  – there were artists, for example Susan Hiller, who had works in Karlsaue and elsewhere in Kassel. That said, the spectacle of sheer number of works to be discovered dispersed across the part, makes it harder to believe that they were meant to be encountered in this contingent, mediated way.

I will write about this in more detail tomorrow as I am experiencing some technical difficulties (in addition to extreme exhaustion from my day’s adventures) so I will continue this post on my return to Malaga tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a video of a ten minute bike ride through the park from 2012 and dOCUMENTA (13) that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.