Archive: Issue No. 50, October 2001

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Okwui Enwezor

Documenta director Okwui Enwezor


Documenta11 - Platform1 continues in Berlin

Headed by Okwui Enwezor, previously artistic director of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Documenta11 has been conceptualised as a "constellation" of five platforms. The first four platforms take the form of symposia, while the fifth is the exhibition in Kassel, Germany, that is usually synonymous with Documenta. Platform1, titled 'Democracy Unrealized', began in Vienna in March/April, and continues at the House of World Cultures, Berlin, from October 9 to 30.

Platform2 - titled 'Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation' - took place in New Delhi in May, and featured a paper by Johannesburg curator and art historian Rory Bester. Johannesburg will come under the spotlight in Platform4, 'Under Siege: Four African Cities', along with Freetown, Kinshasa and Lagos, while Platform3 looks at 'Créolité and Creolization'.

The logic behind the multiple platforms is described in a press release as follows: "The locus of Documenta11 is one of debate and contestation in which a constellation of theoretical ideas cross with praxis. Planned as intellectually rigorous and methodologically adventurous, the culmination of the platforms as an exhibition unfolds the complex vicissitudes that shape the Documenta11 exhibition when it opens on June 8 2002.

"The platforms can be understood then as constellations that open up a critical review of processes of a range of knowledge production. Equally, these platforms perform a second operation in that they allow Documenta11 the opportunity to render transparent the dimension of its intellectual interest and curatorial research. Hence the entire conceptual orientation of the exhibition is decidedly interdisciplinary, connecting a wide range of scholars, philosophers, artists, and filmmakers, institutions, cities, and audiences."

The current symposium on the fate of democracy at the beginning of the new millennium opened on October 9 with a paper by Homi Bhabha, author of The Location of Culture (1994) among other seminal texts. Speakers over the next two weeks include Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, economist Zhiyuan Cui, political scientist Ernesto Laclau, writer and feminist activist Nawal al-Saadawi and historian Harbans Mukhia.

For readers' interest we reproduce the following texts:

Okwui Enwezor's introduction to 'Democracy Unrealized'

Selected abstracts: Homi Bhabha, Zhiyuan Cui, Ernesto Laclau, Harbans Mukhia

For more information, and video documentation of the proceedings of the platforms thus far, see www.documenta.de.

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