Jo van der Spek wrote a great text about Documenta 15: "This institute, Documenta along with its directors, boards, scientists, and sponsors has demonstrated no more than their impotence of transcending their own identity complex, missing the chance to decolonize itself. Germany is still its history. Memory is still guilt. Kassel is still Auschwitz."
I think a large sector of the German public is being taken for a ride back to the worst of Cold War cultural repression, courtesy of its most conservative elements who have always used their support for Israel as a way to cover their own participation in the post-WWII imperial order. By systematically conflating resistance to the state of Israel with anti-Semitism, they turn politics into a hate crime - and then they send in the police, in the thin disguise of a "scientific committee." I met people who sincerely believed in this procedure, residents of Kassel who refused to go to the exhibition. So doing, they blind themselves in a shroud of legitimacy. In the name of redress for past wrongs they refuse to see that their own society is founded on domination, that it's unbearable, that the revolution against it has already happened and the world has already left empire behind. The same repressive strategy has obviously been applied in the United States and many other countries over the past seventy years, but without the systematic conflation of the Israeli state and the Jewish religion that is now becoming the hallmark of the German culture war against the present: against immigration, against the breakdown of European privilege, against the unfolding tragedy of global inequality and climate change. The amazing thing, in this context, is that the exhibition happened, in Kassel and nowhere else. What could be seen at Documenta 15 was also the best of German openness, experimentalism, self-critique and willingness to change. Nobody should ever forget how much value that has, how much insight and courage it took to create that unique art show. German citizens should become aware of their strengths, resist this paralyzing politics and put all the best parts of their society to use, in the attempt to decarbonize, demilitarize and end the current war that the developed world is supporting and paying for with fossil fuel consumption. It's worthless to build walls. People will always scale them. The thing is to come together and cooperate in the face of a very difficult future. Jo goes on: "To me, in essence, the lumbung way has resulted in an attempt to introduce the mostly white western visitors to other value systems, other forms of social life and other ways of expression. It offered visitors a chance to be seduced, convinced and embraced by this gathering of communities and collectives." What I could see, everywhere in D15, were cultures of resistance. Acts of art-making linked to ways of surviving together under extremely difficult circumstances. This was evident throughout the show, in work like that of the Kurdish video collective who filmed traditional songs, so beautiful they pierce you like mountain wind. An exhibition with no big galleries and no art stars allowed you to sense both the predicament and the joy of people you never met or never even dreamed of. The Roma MoMA was the most vibrant expression of identity I've ever seen. Mafolofolo, by the South African group MADEYOULOOK, was a haunting history of a forgotten place told in topography and music. The Ghetto Biennial staged by Atis Rezistans opened a doorway into a Haitian experience that's otherwise unimaginable. The Sada school's [regroup] video on the pathways taken by its fleeing participants, from Baghdad in 2011-15 to points around the world today, was a chance to count the everyday human costs of imperial warfare, and to understand how people rise above and beyond such circumstances, which may well be coming for all of us. Obviously, big exhibitions are always a kind of kaleidoscope. But this one revealed planet earth, rather than little bits of colored glass. And there's one more thing. All the work felt familiar. Every piece felt like it was part of the discussions and the struggles that I encounter every day in the United States. From Standing Rock to the George Floyd uprising, this kind of art is our contemporary experience. As the country divides into a clear fascist attack and a confused liberal reaction, we white western folks on the left take a stand with the most oppressed people, because it's the human thing to do and it's the only way to save society for all of its members. In Kassel I found myself wishing we could have such a perfect art show for our own time in the United States. Well, there's no chance of that, we do not have the culture and courage and insight at the state level to do such a thing. But when I got home from my last trip there was an alternative show in Chicago, the MDW art fair. What did they do? One cultural center called Co-Prosperity invited six other centers from different states, who in their turn invited all the local independent and alternative space that they work with. None of these folks even needed to know about lumbung to practice it! There's a lot more to say but 'nuff said for now, Brian On Wed, Sep 14, 2022 at 9:02 AM Jo van der Spek M2M <j...@xs4all.nl> wrote: > *Dodomenta* > > *A Kassel diary* > > > > *“We come here as equals. We come here in power, and we come here to put > ourselves in the public domain, with nothing to hide or be ashamed of. We > come here as nothing less than equals, who can humbly learn from each > other, who can help each other, who care about each other, because we know > that our interdependency is the only path toward a more just planetary > future.”* > > > https://www.e-flux.com/notes/489580/we-are-angry-we-are-sad-we-are-tired-we-are-united-letter-from-lumbung-community > > > > This statement on the 10th of September ‘22, signed by 100 collective > artists that acted as *lumbung* artists > <https://www.lumbunggallery.theartists.net/> in Documenta Fifteen > <https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/>, terminated Documenta Fifteen a week > earlier than planned. Lumbung represents an artistic and economic model > focused on sustaining a continued collective practice rather than producing > collectible art objects. > > I had the privilige to visit this Docementa in what turned out to be the > last weekend of this episode. I have seen and felt the power, the beauty > and the dynamics as I moved around in the environment called Kassel, in “a > constellation of public spheres” (Okwui Enwezor, 2011) . And I felt > tension, a certain suspense, or rather an absence. > > > > *We are angry, we are sad, we are tired, we are united: Letter from > lumbung community * > > The title of the last lumbung statement in context of Documenta, was a > response to the final opinion of a would-be scientific board (scientific > advisory panel, appointed by the Supervisory Board of Documenta gGmbH in > August 2022) that took the liberty of judging the moral value of the > whole thing, including the lumbing way of working and organizing. This > opinion was called for in the light of the fierce attacks for being > anti-semitic, ant-Israel and therefore propagating the Palestinian strand > of anti-colonialism. > > > > It was the absence of the lumbung artists in the venues that struck me, > together with the lack of interaction between and among the visitors. No > doubt the artists were brooding on their manifesto. And we the visitors > were drifting along, in wonders. What I was looking for, having read about > the attacks on the artists and the dumbness of the Documenta directors, was > how the collective reacted to the German concerns which had effectively > dominated the media reports on Documenta. I missed it in the weekend, but > then it came to me on Monday. > > > > “We know what it means to be discriminated against due to color, > ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, origin, caste, and/or disability. > We understand the ways that our different anti-colonial struggles > intersect. And that these struggles are faced in everyday life in society > at large. We are committed to art’s role in resisting these broader > societal injustices. And in the context of documenta fifteen and the > specificities of the German context we see that the targeting of > Palestinian artists is the point at which our anti-colonial struggles meet, > and have become a focal point for attack. Anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian > racism, anti-queer, transphobia, anti-Roma, abelism, casteism, anti-black, > xenophobia and other forms of racisms are racisms that the German society > must deal with in addition to anti-Semitism.” > > > > Rather than letting yourself be stifled by this show of German soul > searching. you strike back by reaffirming your fundamental values and > working principles, thereby denouncing your German host’s for censoring > your art, if not your existence. > > This institute, Documenta along with its directors, boards, scientists, > and sponsors has demonstrated no more that their impotence of transcending > their own identity complex, missing the chance to decolonize itself. > Germany is still its history. Memory is still guilt. Kassel is still > Auschwitz. > > > > Having said that, the substance of Documenta Fifteen is much more than an > exposure of contemporary colonialism or the struggles against it. It is > also more than just taking over a Western institution, be it an old church > or Documenata itself. To me, in essence, the *lumbung* way has resulted > in an attempt to introduce the mostly white western visitors to other > value systems, other forms of social life and other ways of expression. > It offered visitors a chance to be seduced, convinced and embraced by > this gathering of communities and collectives. > > > > “Documenta fifteen is not a static, curated exhibition that remains the > same throughout the 100 days. Instead, the venues are constantly changing: > they are places in which to meet, discuss, and learn. Exhibition buildings > become living rooms, and together the artists decide how to use each venue. > Through this process, the rooting of artistic practice in daily life is > made tangible. documenta fifteen seeks to test alternative approaches to > economy, collectivity, and sustainability through the practice of lumbung. > Even if this approach is not visible at first glance, it may be noticeable > at the venues and in the programs.” > https://booklet.documenta-fifteen.de/en/ueber/lumbung > > > > Harmony and balance are valued higher than conflict and contrast. In a > sense, the lumbung collective exposes itself as such: in harmony, open and > embracing. Not so much searching for confrontation but for meeting and > exchange. Baking mud cakes according to a Haitian tradition recipe from > Kassel earth. Bringing rituals together in niches of the St. Kunigundis (Atis > Rezistans > <https://www.lumbunggallery.theartists.net/artist/atis-rezistans>). > Feeling your creative compost in the Holobiente > <https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/venues/compost-heap-karlsaue/> in > Karlsaue Park. So many ways to look around, and to look at yourself. > > > > I did have some intercourse with the works, I was absorbed and overwhelmed > and warmed and all that. But it did not move, not shake, not any more. No > wonder, when the protagonists had left the space already (I only read the > tekst of their statement the day after). > > > > Just as we can blame Documenta for being colonial, we could call lumbung > naive. How could they expect the West/Europe to accept without a whisper > all collective powers invading the cultural heart of Europe? Lumbung did > not come to topple the institute or invade the *Volksraum*, but > confronted with a wall of shame, the lumbung saw itself orced to manifest > its resilience and orbital interdependency, by leaving Documenta behind > like a fossil. Naive? Or just a new beginning? > > > > *We are outraged, we are exhausted, but our struggle will continue.* > > *“Lumbung Gallery is planned to extend beyond the duration of documenta > fifteen as a registered entity of its own. Collectors, public institutions > and communities are invited to form their own Lumbungs and participate in > the sharing of artworks.”* *https://www.lumbunggallery.theartists.net/ > <https://www.lumbunggallery.theartists.net/>* > > > > Cheers! See you soon! > > > > Jo van der Spek (1956) > > Kassel-Amsterdam sept. 2022 > > > > > > http://letterverz.nl public work 23rd of september > > make it happen: > > NL53TRIO0338573607 t.n.v. Stichting Migrant 2 Migrant o.v.v. LetterVerZ > > > > Jo van der Spek M2M > > Communicatieadviseur > > Stichting Migrant 2 Migrant > > http://schipholbrand.net > > > # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission > # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, > # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets > # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l > # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nett...@kein.org > # @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: >
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