Topic for Debate

documenta, regarded as the most important exhibition of contemporary art worldwide, takes place in Kassel, Germany, every five years.

This year, ArchNet members are invited to take part in a unique forum to discuss the exhibition's chosen leitmotifs, or themes, selected by artistic director Roger Buergel.

Please note: ArchNet member responses to this discussion forum may be republished online or in print in documenta publications. If so, ArchNet will send you a copyright release form.

Certain projects and discussion forum threads within ArchNet may provoke our community's critical engagement with emergent themes and debates in the visual arts:

What is bare life?
This question underscores the vulnerability and exposure of being. Bare life deals with that part of our existence from which no measure of security will ever protect us. But, as in sexuality, absolute exposure is connected with infinite pleasure. There is an apocalyptic and obviously political dimension to bare life (brought out by torture and the concentration camp).

There is, however, also a lyrical or even ecstatic dimension to it, a freedom for new and unexpected possibilities (in human relations as well as in our relationship to nature or, more generally, the world in which we live).

Here and there, art dissolves the radical separation between painful subjection and joyous liberation. But what does that mean for its audiences?

The following sites in the ArchNet Digital Library may provide food for thought. Please comment within this discussion forum thread.

Discussion Thread: Paris Riots

Discussion Thread: Karachi's Leftover Spaces

Discussion Thread: Anti-Social Urban Spaces

Digital Library Site: Gecekondu

Digital Library Site: Tree House, Ethiopia

Digital Library Site: Sultan Qala'un Hospice, Jerusalem

Cassim Shepard
Your thoughts on "Bare Life"
the word bare brings us near to basic or without social inhibitation or just essential.....normally time,people,society expect covered version of everything to suiet their bare facts they bare body they stump fact all animals except humans[cover] live in design bare essential is minimalist and best design.pls. excuse me for not using the thread line praposed by you.
Dushyant Nathwani
Your thoughts on "Bare Life"
Quite an interesting topic--"Bare Life." It reminds me of the work of Justine Kurland, a New York based photographer who depicts communal experiences in beautiful settings aiming at connecting humans with the landscape in a very intimate way. It becomes almost a primal urge, "bare life sort of thing".

This is in contrast with the marginality of settlements of the dispossessed, where people may feel disengaged while barely making it in a day-to-day existence. Only time will give the settler the opportunities to either improve their current conditions or just leave for good.

We all have the need to put down roots to places, and feel that we belong in a rightful, meaningful way to a larger piece beyond ourselves. It is only natural, as Kurland so well points out in her work.

Maria Ayub
Maria Ayub


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