Docu-Drama

Published December 14, 2011

Most art-worlders know dOCUMENTA as the more rigorous, conceptually oriented event on the artistic grand tour. The exhibition takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany, and runs for a stretch of 100 days. As a warm-up for next summer’s happening, overseen by artistic director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, dOCUMENTA, together with publisher Hatje Cantz, has created a series of interdisciplinary notebooks, appropriately titled 100 Notes—100 Thoughts. Wondrously, these simply packaged, breathtakingly diverse folios work like an offbeat intellectual prosopography. Edited by Bettina Funcke, the third batch of notebooks (No. 34–54) comes out this December and includes such gems as a log of recent Google searches by Norwegian artist Matias Faldbakkan, novelist Nawal El Saadawi’s personal essay on Egypt’s past and its present during Mubarak’s trial, and a linguistic riddle about the value of secrets by literary wunderkind Daniel Heller-Roazen. It’s refreshing to see such massive depth inside such a modest package.