continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 2.3 / 2012: 224–228

Can an Art Show Like dOCUMENTA Be Dangerous ?

Thierry Geoffroy

continent. 2.3 (2012): 224–228

Jamie Allen

Thierry Geoffroy’s conceptual, event- and environment-based art practice has generated over two-decades of definitional activity around what he terms “format art.” The works re-galvanize the energies of a syndicatable, open and atmospheric arrangement, of varying specifics dependent on context, participants and environment. With formats like the Emergency Room, Biennalist, and the Critical Run, Geoffroy endeavors to imbricate art and artist in the most exigent and current of social, political and mediatised spectacles. The result seems to plant us at a triangulation of the configurations proposed by Alan Kaprow, Andrea Fraser and Alan Abel.

Geoffroy plays up a guileless innocence (at times sporting the “Naive Blue Helmet”) as he interviews spectactors at the 2012 dOCUMENTA13 exhibitions in Kassel, Germany. What he evokes is a declamation of the appropriative, unenthusiastic, cool inclinations of the mainstream art festival, the profligate biennial (triennial, quadrennial, etc.) circuit and national and global ideological cultural-engines.

In propositional artifacts, definitional articles and direct transmissions from Geoffroy’s Emergency Room field office at dOCUMENTA13, the masking of an emergency is here questioned: Can an art show like dOCUMENTA be dangerous?



Is dOCUMENTA designed to make people cry about something and not make them see something else?
Is the contemporary a distraction from the present?
Can art in delay have any impact with today?
Do we learn anything by seeing art shows reflecting on history?
Could 860,000 visitors have been intoxicated by an apathic gaze than keep them away from reacting?
Why is dOCUMENTA proud of having recieve no critic?
Why is proximity less important?
Why was dOCUMENTA in Kabul?
Can weapons designed to kill protesters sold to a repressing regime be contradictory to the support of the Arab Spring?
Is the contemporary like a flea market to avoid to debating the important topics of today?
Can art be in advance of the broken arm, and avoid accident?
Is the goal of dOCUMENTA to create a revolution or to entertain?
Is dOCUMENTA betterly done than Disney Land?
Is it better to watch Fox News for two years or to go to dOCUMENTA for two days?

If a curator, curating a contemporary art show about war, forgets to debate about the weapons factories next door, should it be considered as a professional mistake?

Is it OK to employ philosophers to promote vodka?

Is navigation a threat?

Can an art show like dOCUMENTA be dangerous?

Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel author of the month Global Art and the Museum @ZKM:

Thierry 1

Link to Emergency Room Dictionary



Thierry 5

Biennalist at dOCUMENTA 13

Thierry 6Thierry 7 "TIRED" from the EMERGENCY ROOM DICTIONARY by COLONEL MUSICThierry 8

Link to "APATHY" (from the Emergency Room Dictionary)

AWARENESS MUSCLE [fr. muscle de la conscience]

In the same sense memory can be trained,
an awareness muscle can be developed
by an effort.

To develop the awareness muscle,
the artist has to reduce his gesticulations.
When an artist is busy
the artist is not very aware
the artist is occupied.
A daily training is necessary
But how to train?
Scanning the news in a critical way
could be one exercise.
Daily debating politics with others
could be another.
Looking at other point of views
usually produces significant improvements.
Fighting prejudice is an excellent exercise.
Many other forms of training could also
produce beneficial effects for the awareness muscle.
Continuous and daily training is important.
For instance
rewinding and slow motioning
what has been absorbed
getting away the sugar from the propaganda machines
talking to everyone
excercise comparatif
critical run.

If not daily trained
the awareness muscle can degrade into atrophy
To develop the awareness muscle requires will-power

Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel