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Documenta 12 Magazine No. 1. Modernity?
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Documenta 12 Magazine No. 1. Modernity?
Roger M. Buergel
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An experimental magazine project by the creative minds behind documenta 12, the world's most important contemporary art event (June 16 to September 23, 2007) The documenta 12 magazines are a collective worldwide editorial project linking over ninety print and online periodicals, as well as other media. In advance of the exhibition in Kassel, documenta 12 magazines have opened up a central site for reflection and visual contemplation. Since early 2006, influential journals in the realm of art, as well as specialist publications operating in discursive fields beyond the major art centres, have been publishing and discussing contributions?essays, interviews, photo reportages, features, interventions from artists and articles of fiction?in relation to documenta 12's three main themes: Is modernity our antiquity? What is bare life? What is to be done? The documenta 12 magazine will subsequently assemble and summarize these debates and provide a selection of core texts and images. The first issue of this ?journal of journals? will be published in March 2007; issues 2 and 3 will follow in April and May 2007. Good texts help us to understand more about what we see: in this sense, the documenta 12 magazine aims to provide background knowledge prior to the exhibition, without restricting in any way the individual experience of viewing the artworks themselves. The broadly conceived themes of Modernity?, Life! and Education: are in fact intended to increase our appetite for images, because the significance of art lies within art itself?in its ambiguity, contrariness and stubborn independence. Excerpt from the editorial of magazine 1: The authors of this volume thus tell of specific, localmodernities, look into developments that have been shifted or broken off, and explore alternative or parallel blueprints for modernity in which transitions have not developed or been considered and connections between spaces and practices have not been anticipated?connections that have not been conceived from the perspective of an enlightened, modernist universalism of Western coinage nor a cynical postmodern relativism that speaks of multiple modernities (by which it means nothing more than markets), but rather are conceived from situations that are produced by the specific circumstances of local yet intertwined, and by all means emancipatory, aspects and utopias of modernity. This first issue offers a kind of propaedeutics, an exemplary outline, and also takes up historical positions. The artworks that are portrayed here address the concept of form, a significant discussion in the course of modernity. Many of them are from the 1960s and early 1970s, a crucial moment in the history of contemporary art, in part because of the new relationship art developed toward its own history and the history of the avant-gardes, a relationship that even today offers a rich store of contradictory projections. We, the editorial staff of the documenta 12 magazines, hope that this issue's kaleidoscopic view of specific moments, configurations, and positions of the apparatus of modernity will offer all its readers and visitors to documenta 12 useful material for navigating through one of the exhibition's leitmotifs. We look forward to hearing your questions in return.

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