Programming for Documenta 14 Begins Next Week in Athens With ‘Parliament of Bodies’ and ’Exercises of Freedom’

The Eleftherias Park Arts Centre in Athens.CITY OF ATHENS

The Arts Center in Parko Eleftherias in Athens.


Though Documenta 14, arguably the grandest and most important art exhibition in the whole world, is not set to arrive until next year, first in Athens on April 8 and then in Kassel, Germany, its traditional home, on June 10, programming will actually begin next week in the Greek capital. Documenta’s organizers have released an announcement saying that their public initiatives will start on September 14 at the Athens Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias, or Freedom Park.

Some details from the news release:

The opening days from September 14–24 will be followed by weekly activities including public talks, performances, reading groups, workshops, screenings, and presentations. Until the opening of documenta 14’s exhibition in Athens…the Athens Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias—kindly allocated by the City of Athens—transforms into an experimental public space, introducing numerous Greek and international artists, theorists, historians, and curators.

These inaugural festivities include a program called the Parliament of Bodies, which will be “neither a conference nor an exhibition,” and where “you will find neither individual chairs within the building nor a fixed architecture.” Instead, 45 participants have been invited to “exercise freedom” in the arts center, which will feature “Andreas Angelidakis’s soft architecture consisting of sixty-eight blocks of ruins (the ruins of a democratic parliament?).”

A bit more about the project:

The 34 Exercises of Freedom aim to write a queer anticolonial symphony of Europe from the 1960s, scripting dialogue and giving visibility to dissident, heterogeneous, and unheard narratives. We start by bringing together the radical left tradition with the anti-colonial fight for sovereignty of indigenous movements within Europe. The voice of Antonio Negri—one of the founders of the Potere Operaio (Workers’ Power) group in 1969 and member of Autonomia Operaia in Italy—meets the voice of Niillas Somby—the political rights activist fighting for Sámi sovereignty in the north of Norway. Both were accused of different forms of terrorism during the 1970s.

Really, the whole statement is very intriguing, rich with references, and quotable, so I will just link to it here and encourage you to give it a read.

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