Documenta 15: Spaniards in the 100 Day Museum

Documenta 15: Spaniards in the 100 Day Museum

Kassel’s “100 Days Museum”, as the documenta is also known, is considered a powerful beacon of current creativity in all of its 15 editions. The next date, which will open to the public this Saturday, will break some of the inertia that typifies this type of global event. First of all, there is the idea of ​​the curator as patriarch (where women have also found a place who have acted as such), that of the museum biennial and, no less importantly, that of the artist. No one will be there or expected, and we can even laugh at all those battleship-sized egos. We are faced with an edition of realists who trample on the ideals agreed upon by the market (no matter how much they may end up being subsumed in it), but not in the style of “burn the museums”, but rather let’s make. Cultural collective is the “essence” of the Art in the streets and squares, in nature, in its materiality and its cycles. Collectivism as the last of the fine arts.

Indonesians Ruangrupa, a collective founded in Jakarta in 2000, direct this edition. They refer to the current creation as an ecosystem populated by groups and other professionals not traditionally associated with contemporary art, but it is “a human-scale art found in public services, schools, banks, hospitals and universities with a mix of practice operates and forms”. “From literature, sociology, economics, electronic music or architecture, we create environments where people interact or just sit down to talk about forgotten history, new colonialism and migration narratives. There won’t be much work, but there are many processes,” they assure. Their protocol as “commissioners” is called the lumbung (a room resembling a granary used to store rice) and refers to the way the resources in their country are managed. Among the 70 groups invited to Kassel this year are three Spanish ones: the publisher Consonni, the agroecologist collective INLAND, whose most prominent member is Fernando García-Dory, and the collective Recetas Urbanas of Santiago Cirugeda. What characterizes them are “the affects,” those pristine truths that salvage an increasingly virtualized artistic environment.

The eight editions of the Documenta 15 catalogues, edited by Consonni.The eight editions of the Documenta 15 catalogues, edited by Consonni.

Based in Bilbao since 1996, Consonni works as an idea producer whose most relevant work is related to publishing (experimental art and literary essays), workshops and radio. Her roadmap is feminism and the maxim coined by Walter Benjamin in “The Author as Producer”: “Don’t use the old production apparatus, but transform it.” Event of this kind, for what it represents as the most visible, ubiquitous and expansive element: the catalogs and the coordination of publications around the event, which takes place every five years. Maria Mur Dean and Munts Brunet explain this editorial work’s association with Ruangrupa as “a way of translating curatorial concepts into text format, a way of translating the ideas they take from the collective, the lumbung, from beginning to end, from beginning to end.” up to the end we defend a dialogue with the designer team, with the Documenta institution and the publisher who finally publishes it, Hatje Cantz”.

They disrupt the previous concept of publication at these types of events. They have developed two catalogues: the Handbook or Handbook, whose structure is based on travel books, as a more intuitive guide than a compilation of works and sites; and the Family Guide, which proposes five itineraries for families created by groups from different cultures and based on values ​​such as transparency, a sense of humor or solidarity. “It will be like the documenta through the imagination of the artists. The two guides complement each other and are autonomous at the same time,” says Brunet. They are also sponsoring Radio Lumbung, with support from the Etxepare Basque Institute, which will broadcast the podcasts throughout the 100 days of the event; They designed the flyers, the postcards and the issue of Lumbung Stories, a fictional anthology that registers the cosmologies of the common in different territories of the planet in seven languages ​​and that will be represented in public readings in the Documenta rooms.

'Performance' by the agricultural ecologist collective INLAND, one of the guests of this Documenta 15.‘Performance’ by the agricultural ecologist collective INLAND, one of the guests of this Documenta 15.

INLAND (or Campo Adentro) is a collaborative platform that promotes connections between art and territory. It consists of ten members. The most visible is artist and agroecologist Fernando García-Dory. They work with local communities and use concepts of radical economics to salvage ancient agricultural practices or formats that blur the line between arts and crafts, such as pottery making, clothing design, performative actions in rural settings, or social plastics. , like creating an international movement of nomads and pastoralists. In Kassel, they are intervening in the gardens and inside of the Ottoneum (a 17th century building) with the redesign of an Un-Museum für Volkskunst (or “Un-Museum” für Volkskunst), which will be presented as “an extended glossary of its latest radical pedagogical project, the Inland Academy, and as a sounding board for its archive of “solid anthropology” of culture and natives.

There will also be a “cave” in which the collaboration with the artist Hito Steyerl, which began in 2017, will be shown; and in the garden, renatured in collaboration with the museum’s scientists, botanists and entomologists, a beehive tower and the cheese pavilion. From there, together with Steyerl, they brought the Cheesecoin into circulation, a common currency that enables translocal exchange. This cryptocurrency has coined the phrase “the value of this currency is preserved thanks to the integrity of its community”. García-Dory explains that “The number of cheese tokens issued will follow the cheese pattern, which corresponds to the number of kilos of cheese INLAND will produce at this event. Users can hold their balance and upload it to a cloud, through an application that allows them to create new exchanges and forms of equivalence, a performative and conceptual way to face the fever for NFTs, hyper-technologization and individual accumulation, and others to create collateral in circulation.

A picture of the bridge built by Recetas Urbanas in Kassel (Germany).A picture of the bridge built by Recetas Urbanas in Kassel (Germany).

The collective Recetas Urbanas, inspired by the Sevillian architect Santiago Cirugeda, with the help of primary school children from two schools in Kassel, created the intervention Jumping in Hanoi, a bridge (formally similar to the Long Bien, a cantilever bridge in the Vietnamese capital) that spans a boat rental building stretches along the Fulda and was built with recycled materials and climbing equipment. After the end of Documenta 15, it will be divided into two and moved to the respective school as a play structure. It is an example of how the art of the future will no longer be imbued with its own audience, like a Van Gogh or a sun hanging in a turbine hall (Olafur Eliasson), but collective, experiential and, beyond that, experiencable in everyday life be used.

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