(in deutscher Sprache)

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Invitation to a heart-to-heart talk on the occasion of the eviction of the dOCCUPY-Camp


9th September 2012, 4 p.m., dOCCUPY-Camp

A public dialogue on the possibilities of art

as a transformative power in connection with actual policies


Policy defines what we see and what we can say about it. Policy prescribes who is able to see something and who is qualified to say something. Policy affects qualities of spaces and time’s immanent possibilities.

Just on the basis of this primary aesthetics, the question on ‚aesthetic practices‘ can be proposed within the meaning of their forms of visibilty, the room they take up and what they ‚do‘ with regard to community.“

(Jacques Rancière: Le partage du sensible. Esthétique et politique)

(own translation from German)


On Saturday, september 8th, we will leave the dOCCUPY-Camp. On Sunday, september 9th, at the end of 93 days of collective living and reviving this public space in front of dOCUMENTA (13)s‘ main halls, we want to deliver a critical summary of the last months. We invite the curators and artists of dOCUMENTA (13) to be part of this.

It was often said that ‚within the walls‘ of dOCUMENTA (13) the camp could be seen as a Beuys‘ ’social plastic‘. This artificial description nearly subsumed the political and social concerns of ‚Occupy‘.

‚Occupy‘ is a call not only to occupy a public space physically, but also – by the means of the word ‚occupation‘ – a call to focus on the division of labour within the community. Concretely it is about time to criticise and to think over the actual form of labour division, also in the broader sense of which kind of production is needed and necessary for the benefit of all – and which one isn’t. The art scene isn’t exempted from these questions: „In whichever specific form of economy that may occur, ‚aesthetic practices‘ will be part of this spefic form: they never constitute an ‚exception‘ to the other practices. Aesthetic practices represent or remodel the divison of the other practices.“ (J. Rancière) (own translation from German)

Last weekend Occupy focussed on the labour practice of „military production“ and – in a larger sense – discussed the main topic of „militarism“ as a threat to freedom. Under the motto „Tents, not tanks!“, we organized in an alliance with various groups an action weekend of lectures, discussions and cultural programs as well as a demonstration starting at a square next to the dOCCUPY-Camp and ending at the gates of the weapons manufacturer „Krauss-Maffei Wegmann“(KMW) here in Kassel.

KMW catched the critical public’s attention two years ago for its planned export of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Saudi Arabia.

We reject the production of technologies that are used for the protection of the economic and political power and for the oppression and murder of people.

Unfortunately dOCUMENTA (13) failed to position itself on the Kassel „art of war“.

While the Occupy movement protested against the particular interests of economy and politics, dOCUMENTA (13) invited international artists, to dedicate

  „to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary. dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth. This vision is shared with, and recognizes, the shapes and practices of knowing of all the animate and inanimate makers of the world, including people.“

 (C. Christov-Bakargiev)


In this sense, we are grateful to the curator C. Christov-Bakargiev for her willingness to give Occupy Kassel the possibility to use the lawn in front of the Fridericianum without restrictions as a political and aesthetic free space.

With such large consensus regarding the (at least ‚theoretically‘ formulated) way of collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange, we are astonished by the unwillingness on the part of the makers of dOCUMENTA (13) to start a direct exchange with the activists in their front yard.

Even and especially on the background of an art scene that is so vehemently worried about the state of our world and an increasing criticism, formulated by the decission-makers of a cultur that is forming the opinion of the majority, it seems necessary, and at the time, that those decision makers open theirselfes for the first steps of action towards a solidary culture (to become a strong force in society) and join a non-hierarchical dialogue about these first steps with us.

Does the gap between the so called ordinary lived-in world and the knowledge, values and ideals of an „established“ culture still have to be so big, that the design of the basic and everyday living conditions still have to be based on an actually irrational logic of growth and natural exploitation, which follows economic imperativs and is accompanied by an apparently political passivity, that is supposed to be without alternatives?  All this happens despite many attempts from various sectors of society, in spite of existing alternatives and in the light of an increasingly sociocritical art.

Occupy is already trying to live parts of these values ​​and ideals, which can be the driving force and scale of a society based on solidarity and which are already shared by many groups and social movements. But we as cultural actors in the political arena depend on each other in order to achieve our common practical goals.  

If we start to act together, in an expressive movement of solidarity which includes all cultural forces, we can grow into a social movement, that runs rings around economics and politics and that can guide them into reasonable paths.

What potential could arise, if the cultural actors realised their ideas and designs of a better culture beyond the walls of existing institutions and if they would develop the will to commonly transfer them into reality by their power of practical possibilities?

What could happen if the possibility of a profound change for the better world, would be facilitated to the people as evident and plausible by a resolute intervention of our culture?

What would be achieved if the many constructs of vaunted intellectual workers, were not only used as intellectual culinary delight or as ideology, but transfered in to real possibilities to initiate a passionate effort of our culture?

On these questions, we want to discuss in public on Sunday.

The dOCCUPY camp leaves Kassel.

dOCUMENTA (13) will follow.

The military industry remains.

Let us create something together and in solidarity that will be stronger than the internal contradictions of our societies and the political and economic interests of those who are still in power.

„Art anticipates the final aim that labour[or: work] cannot reach on its own and for its own: the abolition of the antagonisms. But art can reach this aim for the case that it is production. The process of materialisation is identically equal to the fact that a community demonstrates its own sense [and meaning]. […] Production adds the act of making something visible to the act of production and by doing this, it defines a new relation between doing and seeing. Art anticipates labour [work], because it realises its principles, the transformation of sensual matter into self-expression of a community. […] We have to abandon this mentally lazy and absurd schema, in which the aesthetic cult of ‚L’art pour l’art‘ is opposed to the rising strength of proletarian labour.“

(J. Rancière)

(own translation from German)


Invitation by: Occupy Kassel & Occupy Public Space

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