Documenta 11: Reflections on an Exhibition in Three Acts

Documenta 11: Reflections on an Exhibition in Three Acts

Documenta 11: An Exhibition in Three Acts was collectively written and performed by graduate students enrolled in James Voorhies’s spring 2018 graduate course Binding Agents: Toward an Aesthetic of the Postcolonial in Contemporary Exhibition at California College of the Arts. The script was written by culling parts of seminal texts on the discourse around Documenta 11, Magiciens de la Terre, postcolonial studies, and critical theory.

Cast (in order of appearance)
James Voorhies as The Host
Yomna Osman as Okwui Enwezor
Judit Navratil as Ute Meta Bauer
Efe Ozmen as Elena Filipovic
Preston Fox as Irit Rogoff
Maddie Klett as Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie
Jillian Crochet as Jacques Rancière
Palija Shrestha as Gayatri Spivak
Bianca Moran as Rasheed Araeen
Yoko Tahara as Pablo Lafuente

This script was performed on the final day of class, Thursday, May 3, 2018, to a group of willing attendants in San Francisco, California. 

Documenta 11 unleashed a discourse led by artists, curators and institutions in contemporary art to re-write and re-address colonial histories. The exhibition as a delineable thing, a form, with political potential to change perspectives and increase awareness about topics such as colonialism, immigration, and nation state became even more notably tangible around that time and with this exhibition. Enwezor disrupted the traditional form of Documenta with his 2002 edition. While the exhibition had been traditionally confined to 100 days with activity centered mostly in and around Kassel, Enwezor, instead, created five different exhibition sites, or, as he called them, “platforms.” He organized the platforms across the globe and launched the exhibition more than a year before the planned opening in June 2002 in Kassel. Today, artists and curators are heirs to this activity, operating within the legacy, or the aftermath—a post-Documenta 11 era.

This project examines the impact of this legacy.


Written by CCA graduate students

Edited by James Voorhies

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2018
Designed by Nate Padavick
52 pages
8.25 x 5 inches
edition of 50

Made possible with funding and support by California College of the Arts.