Documenta 12, with 754.301 visitors one of the most attended exhibitions of contemporary art in the world took place from the 16th of June until the 23rd of September 2007 in Kassel/ Germany. A regional and cultural focus of documenta 12 was on integration cultural magazines from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Estonia and Romania, into the international network.
Artists educate themselves by working through form and subject matter; audiences educate themselves by experiencing things aesthetically. How to mediate the particular content or shape of these things without sacrificing their particularity is one of the great challenges of an exhibition like documenta. But there is more to it than that. The global complex of cultural translation that seems to be somehow embedded in art and its mediation sets the stage for a potentially all-inclusive public debate. Under the title “Modernity” the first issue of the three Documenta 12 magazines is devoted to the multifarious meanings of the concept of Modernity, the multiple forms of Modernism, and the local dialects of Modernity. The second issue groups the content under the title of “Life”. This alludes to the question as to what is meant by “bare life”, a question that forms central intellectual trope in many current aesthetic and political discussions. The third leitmotiv of Documenta 12, which focuses on the issue of education, like issue one and two again starts with a question and continues: “Today, education seems of offer one viable alternative to the devil (didacticism, academia) and the deep blue sea (commodity fetishism).” So how should we understand this concept of “aesthetic education” in the highly different and specific situations and contexts in which the ninety editorial desk, spread across all the continents, work to contribute to Documenta 12 magazines? Where could one find motifs and examples of what one could, to use an antiquated term, call emancipator alternatives? The third issue of the Documenta 12 Magazines is dedicated to providing responses and answers to this question. ERSTE Foundation´s support included personal assistance, by a coordination editor based in Vienna, translation of local texts into English and meetings between editors from the different magazines.