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Copyrights Jens Hoffmann and Electronic Flux Corporation, 2003. Designed by FDTdesign.
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¶ 01/02


Be aware of this vocabulary distinction:

(1) When a curator is a full-time curator, we should call her/him a “curator-curator” when the curator questions the nature and function of her/his role, we should write “etc.-curator” (so we can imagine several categories: writer-curator, director-curator, artist-curator, producer-curator, agent-curator, engineer-curator, doctor-curator, etc.).

(2) When an artist is a full-time artist, we should call her/him an “artist-artist” when the artist questions the nature and function of her/his role, we should write “etc.-artist” (so we can imagine several categories: curator-artist, writer-artist, activist-artist, producer-artist, agent-artist, theoretician-artist, therapist-artist, teacher-artist, chemist-artist, etc.).

The above presupposes that a “curator-curator” (or even an “artist-curator”) works differently than a “curator-artist.” It is starting from this point that I’d like to comment on the proposed statement: “The next Documenta should be curated by an artist.”

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¶ 02/02

I love etc.-artists.

Perhaps because I consider myself one of them.

Etc.-artists don’t fit easily into categories and are not so easily packaged for traveling around the world, due most of the time to several compromises that reveal not simply a busy agenda, but strong links to local art circuits they are immersed in. I see the “etc.-artist” as a further development of the “multimedia-artist” that emerged in the mid-1970s, mixing the Fluxus “intermedia-artist” with the “Conceptual-artist” - today, most of the (interesting…) artists could be considered “multimedia-artists,” but for “speech” reasons they are referred to only as “artists” by the specialized literature and media. “Artist” is a word with multilayered meanings (the same is true with “art” and related words, such as “painting,” “drawing,” “object”) - that is, it has several meanings at the same time, though one writes it always the same way. Its multiple meanings are invariably reduced to a strong and dominant one (with the obvious help of a majority of conformist readers). Therefore, semantic differentiation needs to be made. The “etc-artist” even brings to the forefront connections between art and life (e.g., Kaprow’s “un-artist”), art and communities, opening a pathway for a curious, rich mixture of casual and singular circumstances, cultural and social differences, and ideas. If the next Documenta is to be curated by an artist, we should expect to find an etc.-artist working as a curator-artist.

When artists curate, they cannot avoid mixing their artistic investigations with the proposed curatorial project: for me, this is the strength and singularity they bring to curating. The event can have a chance to become clearly embedded in a network of proximate knots, enhancing the circulation of “sensorial” and ”affective”energy - a flow which the field of art has managed to comprehend in terms of its economy and circulation.

If a curator-artist should plan/direct/curate the so-called “major contemporary art event in the Western art world,” s/he has to include, beyond the various types of artists (with strong sympathy for etc.-artists), contemporary thinkers from different disciplines (to art critics: “either you are a sensorial-thinker or you don’t exist”), and a whole set of nonartists, inclduding people working in any field of research or occupation anywhere in the world. These people would not be producing art at all, but would be involved with the artists/artworks in a permanent forum/fair for real-time thinking (for more than 100 days), jointly producing sensorial provocative acts (SPACTs). Digital support is a fundamental requirement here. With such a dynamic, who would care about the “public”? The event would not be open to the public, but would be dedicated instead to “internal consumption” - this self-enclosure should be understood as a recognition of the failure of the “public sphere” and its transition into a new kind of post public arena (collective-multitude-community-friendship diagram), a gesture to be assumed as a necessary provocation with the aim of seeking new forms of relating to the audience. We want the visitors that do come in to be subjects of a changing process during (and after) the event, and to develop some sort of responsibility and compromise toward it. A final proposal is that Documenta should leave the city of Kassel and begin a world tour, spending six months in certain cities within the five continents, coordinated by a team of local etc.-artists. When it finally returned to its original site (should it come back to such a place called “origin”?), there would be enough material for a series of film documentaries about what role contemporary art should play in today’s changing world, to be appreciated safely at home on TV by every family in the world.

I do love etc.-artists. Maybe because I consider myself one of them, and it’s not fair to hate myself.