documenta 13 daybook

 
 

documenta 13 daybook is a poem sequence that relates a sustained encounter with the 100-day art exhibition documenta 13. The poems isolate instances with works in the exhibition—through a combination reportage, translation, and interpretation—to ask: how are our encounters with art fed by our own conceptions, our moods and distractions, or our instantaneous associations to language?

In the summer of 2012, I was living in Kassel, Germany, while teaching and studying at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. I had been in Kassel since documenta 12 in 2007, so was familiar with the way the exhibition takes over the fabric of the city. I saw documenta 13 as a unique opportunity to visit and revisit works, see how others engaged with them, and write through the encounters. This included my daily commute through the city's train stations, my runs through the Auepark, and weekends drifting through the city center.

Over that summer, a great number of friends and artists visited the city. I had the opportunity to break bread with them, act as tour guide, and pry them for reactions and opinions about the artworks. Their words infiltrate the poems.

Images: Rita Fürstenau

The chapbook

In early 2013, I collaborated with Rita Fürstenau at Rotopol Press to produce a 40-page chapbook. Rita's silkscreen cover design does a wonderful job of evoking the network of friends that infuse the poems, and the way the works operate in concert to provide a kind of travelogue to the exhibition.