The Locational Turn? Reflections from Chicago on documenta in Kassel, Alexandria, Banff and Kabul


On November 13, 2013, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northwestern University and artistic director of documenta 13, organized a panel discussion about the exhibition that takes place every five years.

For documenta 13, Christov-Bakargiev revolutionized the exhibition by locating the project in four sites around the world—choosing not only places renowned for international art, but zones of conflict and sociopolitical transformation. Along with being sited in Kassel, the project took place in Alexandria, Egypt, Banff, Canada, and Kabul, Afghanistan. This “locational turn” raised questions of globalization as well as the conceptual complexity of organizing something at once worldwide and singular.


In addition to Christov-Bakargiev and moderator Susy Bielak, the Block Museum’s Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice, participants in the panel discussion included:

Claire Pentecost, Professor of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Brian Holmes, Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School
Michael Rakowitz, Professor in the Department of Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern
Dieter Roelstraete, Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art;
Lori Waxman, Instructor in Art History, Theory and Criticism and New Arts Journalism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Kristina Buch, artist
Titus Wonsey, Huguenot House Builder in Training

Listen now (audio,1 hour, 37 mintues)

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