Documenting DOCUMENTA: A haudenschildGarage Project with Matthew Schum

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I am a Decoy

Towards the end of the Q&A at the press conference, a vanity blogger from Canada asked Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev about the personal satisfaction that came with being the face of Documenta.

This was an attempt to embarrass the unflappable curator while making her out to be a fellow narcissist. Christov-Bakargiev gave a refreshingly honest answer, “I am a decoy so artists can get things done.”

The curator offered four guiding positions for Documenta 13:

1) What does it mean to be in a state of siege?
2) What does it mean to be in a state of hope?
3) What does it mean to be in retreat?
4) What do I do when I am on stage when I am performing?

By the time the herd of us press writers reached the main venue and finally began consuming the 13th Documenta, I gladly realized that these four guiding positions were also decoys that probably related more to the public position a Director faces at a press conference than to the inner workings and manifest outcomes of Christov-Bakargiev’s unpretentious approach to curating.