[-empyre-] documenta and national identity, or any identity at all

dear -empyre-

I've been troubled not knowing how to respond to the requests for more background information about documenta 12 and 
the lack of 'national' representation. Still in Germany for a few more days,  having finished up -empyre= obligations to the "Paper and Pixel" week at Documenta 12, I may try to write about what happened with a bit of distance now.  As an American I may not really speak to Australian issues or represent them in the context of Documenta's neglect of these identities.  Nonetheless this phenomenon of neglect is consistent and ubiquitous throughout the exhibition's design and delivery.  Not just for 'down under' .  It's not there isn't work from many places, many peripheral places, and relatively unknown artists: it's the way that the artworks, whether mainstream or marginal, by famous artists or not,  are presented in proximity to one another via various disingenous sleights of hand, as if mixing various surface design/ residential interior design cues, such as, matching certain reds to reds--coy, kitschy elisions (Lee Lozano meets Gerhardt Richter, as if,  for afternoon tea)  The  well worn technique of deploying temporal discontinuites--associating, through physcial proximity, works from widely divergent times--is of course quite familiar in modern and contemporary art practice from Cubism and Dada to the present: of course you can patch together a series of ideas, even leap ahead of the works towards new imaginative ground,  whenever the curator or the artist confronts you with some argument or nuance thereby--Martha Rosler does this all the time, for example in her current series at the Skulpture Projeke Munster---: at this Documenta, such cannot be realized, because minimal info about each artist, the context of his or her production, and no opportunities for the artist to have a voice, to be quoted re process or intent (in the catalog for example) makes it difficult, almost impossible, to learn or to stimulate one's own critical thinking, sensual experience, and reservoirs of memory. It is as if each work is neutralized within a larger mis-en-scene that generally withholds context. And not just the artworks, but you, the visitor, start to feel neutralized, neutered, too. A general feel of walking around almost-dead is matched by the trivialization (by lack of easy public access, publicity, bad GUI interface, zero search engine, etc) of the online magazine project in which we took part. 

-empyre list members, your disappointment, even rage,  over the lack of representation, reacts against a casual nonchalence which emanates from a curatorial/ organizational attitude, which is not directed against any one periphery, but really against all such, in the name of universality and migration of form. 

How and why is the withholding of content, or dumbing down of the art experience, happening in this exhibition? It was 
a very emotionally exhausting, depressing place to be.  What is going on here? and why should anyone care?



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