dTOURS and The Worldly Companions
The (mostly) two-hour long dTOURS of dOCUMENTA (13) were led by trained persons called “Worldly Companions,” mainly from Kassel and with different backgrounds and knowledges, including people of different generations. These dTOURS departed from various exhibition venues and addressed a variety of subjects. Themed and venue-based dTOURS are listed below, along with a range of other dTOURS providing different experiences.
1. Stations, Transformations and the Image
This dTOUR addressed a paradox nestled within infrastructure, in this case, Kassel´s Hauptbahnhof. Often development projects point to a promised planned future of easy trade and transport – but antiquation, pollution and other unintended or unseen consequences can lead to the abandonment of such areas. Both prosperity and decline are inevitably connected with systems of representation, such as mass media but also art. Likewise, the logic of infrastructure extends to human beings as a resource but also as an active presence of subjects and their desires.
2. When You Walk Inside You See That It Is Filled with Seeds
Ottoneum & Karlsaue
This dTOUR addressed the seed as a nucleus of life on this planet and as a site of economical and political struggle. Art as a form of human practice shares like concerns. The projects met on this dTOUR promoted the parallel histories of seeds, soil, and food, and dealt with the problems of genetic manipulation and economic monopolization.
3. Measuring Time, Mapping Space, Creating Sequences
Orangerie & Karlsaue
Measuring devices such as clocks and telescopes on display in the Orangerie order reality according to a diachronic system and subsequently create sequences that can become a material for artists as elements of para-scientific play. This dTOUR looked at how the systems of notation and the act of cataloging frame particular modes of thinking so as to territorialize space, order time, and create forms of life. The experience of this dTOUR aimed to establish a relationship with modernity, with the "machine" as we know it: an object, a concept and a social tool.
4. Interrupted Objects: What is Left of Things?
Neue Galerie & Documenta Halle
Objects often encounter adventures and traumas in the form of destruction and displacement as well as replacement, transformation, and re-use. Artists can be the activators, spectators, accomplices, or the beneficiaries of such journeys of objects. This dTOUR focused on the divide between forms of art that privilege materiality and the importance of physical presence on the one hand, and approaches that highlight concepts and ideas on the other.
5. Approaching Reality and Time
Fridericianum & Friedrichsplatz
This dTOUR dealt with the ways in which concepts of reality are shaped historically through evolutions in science and philosophy. Visitors to this dTOUR engaged with artworks that raise questions concerning the ways in which time and reality are structured today, and how these models produce specific worldviews that are actualized via technology. Although our knowledge of the elemental particles is increasing at a rapid pace in contemporary physics, for one example of many, this tour also asked, are such quests also an attempt to control the physical world? If so, what potential pitfalls may arise in mankind’s desire to frame nature toward its own goals?
6. Sense and Nonsense: Into the Secrets of dOCUMENTA (13). An Insider dTOUR with Participating Artists, Agents and Staff through their Favorite Artworks
Conducted by the makers of dOCUMENTA (13), this dTOUR explored the exhibition through a direct encounter with participating artists, agents or staff. In addition to their singular insights, this dTOUR was complemented by other observations on the exhibition. Thematic focuses can be for example the misunderstandings of value systems and hidden costs in cultural production, or an inquiry into the fact that the contemporary art world is today divided between an extreme focus on the market, on the one hand, and a discursivity involving critical theory or political activism as art on the other. Another aspects inducted current considerations on non-anthropocentric forms of knowledge, love, politics and skepticism.
7. Multispecies dTOUR
When visiting an art exhibition, what is it that attracts you to one artwork rather than another? It could be a matter of scale, color, craft, or other elements because we think through the senses. Devised by artist Tue Greenfort (Agent for the Worldly Companions House) in association with members of the Verein für Mensch und Hund e.V. (Human and Dog Association), this dTOUR explored artworks created mainly for non-human visitors. What paths can humans and non-humans negotiate together through the artworks in the Karlsaue park? The dTOUR featured a series of walks with experimental dog trainers according to sensory perceptions that map space and time in unexpected ways. The aim was to challenge the focus on the human and propose a radical form of thinking together with other animals. Dogs allowed.
8. Witness dTOUR
Every 5 years documenta occurs for 100 days, and then vanishes – or does it? What could be the traces of artworks’ past, or, for that matter, what memories of documenta still live in the minds of visitors and citizens of Kassel? dOCUMENTA (13) invited companions who have experienced one, or several documentas, to accompany visitors of the current edition and consider its artworks in relation to past exhibitions, local histories, and other antecedents.
9. endurance dTOUR
What are the effects of fatigue on perception? When your eyes tire, does your vision blur? What would it mean to not only think on your feet, but to think with them? This 10-hour non-stop-dTOUR allowed participants to find out how the physicality of this extended trip modified perception while also producing an experience all on/off its own.