documenta 14, April 8–September 17, 2017, in Athens, Kassel, and beyond, has reached more people than ever before

Banu Cennetoğlu, BEINGSAFEISSCARY, 2017, various materials, Friedrichsplatz, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Roman März

documenta 14 is not owned by anyone in particular. It is shared among its visitors and artists, readers and writers, as well as all those whose work made it happen.

On Sunday, September 17, 2017, after 163 days of concerts, screenings, readings, performances, discussions, and the presentation of works by over 160 international artists, documenta 14’s thirty-five exhibition venues in Kassel opened their doors to the public for the last time.

Well over one million visitors saw the exhibition in both cities during its runtime of 163 days, which makes documenta 14 the most frequented contemporary art exhibition of all times.

During the one hundred days of documenta 14 in Kassel we welcomed 891,500 people who visited the exhibition venues, the events, and works in public space. Sixty-five percent of the visitors came from Germany and the remainder visited from seventy-six countries around the world. Of these, 32,800 were school children, over 14,500 were seasonal ticket holders, 14,500 were professional visitors, and 11,150 were media representatives. 19,750 visited documenta 14’s diverse events which formed part of the Public Programs as well as other performances in Kassel.

In Athens, documenta 14 was visited over 339,000 times, in forty-seven exhibition venues, making documenta 14 the most visited multi-venue contemporary art exhibition in Greece’s history. Almost half of the visitors were Greek; twenty-five percent came from Germany; and the remainder visited from over fifty countries around the world.
In Athens, documenta 14 has been visited by over 2,200 media representatives. 5,750 professional visitors traveled to Athens during documenta 14’s preview days and the exhibition period and 2,500 school children visited documenta 14 in Athens.

700.000 listeners tuned in to documenta 14’s radio program Every Time A Ear di Soun online. The program, a collaboration between documenta 14 and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, has been on air during the entire period of the exhibition. Nine radio stations in Greece, Cameroon, Colombia, Lebanon, Brazil, Indonesia, the United States, and Germany constituted a worldwide art exhibition on air.
The program punctuated each station’s usual programming in their local language with art pieces for radio commissioned by documenta 14, archival material, and broadcast selections from documenta 14’s Public Programs for four hours daily. Every Time A Ear di Soun has also been accompanied by live acts addressing issues related to the phenomenology of the sonorous, the sonic as medium for historical narration, Frantz Fanon’s concept of radio as medium of resistance, Rudolf Arnheim’s concept of the imagery of the ear, and more.

119,000 visitors took a walk with a member of the Chorus. Paths, routes, and parcours crossed and intertwined, as visitors considered the pathways taken by peripatetic thinkers as a point of departure for a reflection on the act of walking. Joining a member of the documenta 14 Chorus, visitors created their own lines of inquiry, questioning and entering into dialogue as they unraveled and unfolded documenta 14 together. aneducation has been an open-ended enquiry into modes of questioning, discussing, and thinking art for each and every visitor of documenta 14.

aneducation built projects with schools, universities, art colleges, and communities relating specifically to documenta 14 artist projects. The program of aneducation was to reach a wide and diverse audience that is open to thinking about the social role of art and artists in today’s society. aneducation was shaped by three main questions: “What shifts?” “What drifts?” “What remains?” while investigating the relationship between art, education, and the aesthetics of human togetherness through the collective activation of the body—shifting from day to night. What does it mean to come together? How and where do we come together? And what can we do when we come together?

The Parliament of Bodies, the Public Programs of documenta 14, emerged from the experience of the so-called long summer of migration in Europe, which revealed the simultaneous failure not only of modern representative democratic institutions but also of ethical practices of hospitality. The Parliament was in ruins. The real Parliament was on the streets, constituted by unrepresented and undocumented bodies resisting austerity measures and xenophobic policies.

Throughout an entire year, from September 2016 in Athens moving to Kassel in April 2017 and ending there in September 2017, the Parliament of Bodies and its Societies were active as a dissonant and at the same time synchronous practice of polyphony and multiplicity. More than 300 artists, activists, thinkers, and writers took part in the events. 112,203 viewers followed the documenta 14 Public Programs via live stream.
Nomadic and performative, working as a stateless heterotopia by means of multiplication and displacement, the Parliament of Bodies acted within the spaces of the exhibition as well as within spaces of both cities (theaters, associations, studios, squares …) that are experimenting with new forms of sovereignty beyond the norm.

Out of the many Open Form Societies that were active in Athens and Kassel, we would like to acknowledge the work of the Society of Friends of Halit Yozgat and Pavlos Fyssas dedicated to create networks of solidarity between antifascists and anti-racists movements in Greece and Germany.

Coinciding with the closing of the exhibition in Kassel, the fourth and final guest issue of South as a State of Mind, has been released online, focused on a working theme of violence and offering. In visual and textual essays, as well as poetry, fiction, and letters, languages of violence and transformation are being explored by some of the most compelling writers, thinkers, and artists of the past and present day. South as a State of Mind is a magazine founded by Marina Fokidis in Athens in 2012. From early 2015, the magazine temporarily became the documenta 14 journal, publishing four special issues edited by Quinn Latimer, documenta 14’s Editor-in-Chief of publications, and Adam Szymczyk, documenta 14’s Artistic Director. All issues can be read online.

An interest in language and reading and address—its uses and abuses and affects, as public rhetoric or private literary production—has led the documenta 14 publications program forward. The documenta 14 publications explore language itself; they do not simply employ it in the service of aesthetic, political, and discursive regimes. The disparate forms that language takes—as letters, stories, parables, essays, diaries, speech acts, legal documents, propaganda, poetry, and hybrid literary other—and the ways in which these forms structure our being in and reading of the world, have all found their way into the documenta 14 publications. These include the documenta 14 journal South as a State of Mind; The documenta 14 Reader, a critical anthology exploring issues of economy, language, and the coloniality of power; and the documenta 14: Daybook, devoted to the commissioned artists in the documenta 14 project. Each of these publications articulates larger art-historical and political concerns while focusing on the daily activities and practices of artists and writers and the forms of resistance to be found therein.

Posted in News on 09.19.2017