Art produces the conditions for appearance to happen—the appearance of matter, of senses, of life under many forms of agency. Many of the works in the exhibition create a situation where the presence of the audience is not only merely passive, but forms an embodied encounter. These works depend on activity, on gestures, on the movement created by the presence of individuals and groups. This produces and reproduces a bond between the works and life as the ground for a sense of the political.

A large number of artists in dOCUMENTA (13)—over seventy—have conceived this kind of work: an activity that either involves the presence of the artist or requires a proxy; a figure able to convey the principles that the work explores and aims to activate in the senses and minds of viewers. Since these artworks demand personal intermediaries to be present at the intersection between the work and the audience, collaborations with the students of thirteen art academies in Europe have been developed. These performances, lectures, seminars, discussions, public readings, and conferences—which include, as artistic projects, the experiments of Anton Zeilinger at the Fridericianum or the weekly philosophy seminars initiated by Christoph Menke—all generate distinct opportunities for public interaction and civic engagement.