Swiss Chard Ferry (the Russians aren’t going to make it across the Fulda anymore) by Christian Philipp Mueller (from Switzerland)/ steel, cement base, soil, seasonal plantings/ floating barges on one of the canals of Karlsaue park, an hybrid mobile sculpture that combines minimal high technology with a colorful array of edible vegetables.
A walk in the dOCUMENTA(13) park, the Karlsaue park traditionally used for the event, can this time be the starting point. In the huts spread in this green patch attached to Kassel town, you can have an idea of what documenta is about as it entails a bit of everything: video works, sound, installations to be identified as such, performances necessitating participation of the audience, constructions micro or mega, hidden or visible from a distance; and a bridge. The park has many bridges to cross the canals, but I walked across a special one, which was an artwork. I saw it from a distance and walked right to it. What intrigued me was not the barges which, as I read in the catalogue, are units made of standard pontoons (floating supports for bridges) rented from the THW (the German technical – relief organization), ‘their vernacular aesthetic referring to post disaster devices, as well as to the boat that ferried visitors to nearby Siebenbergen island until the 1950s’. I was attracted by the garden that sat on it. I did not know then that the plants were edible; I would have been tempted surely. But I did walk across and out of it with an awkward feeling of having learned a skill somehow useful in a future. The work is one of the many silently sinking in a not pleasant local memory though actually based on present thoughts.
At the other end of the documenta itinerary, again this feel of rotting guilt lets us go with a hanging worry; this time put into images with narration in the video by Willie Doherty (from Northern Ireland) called Secretion. It is filmed in sites in and around Kassel ‘where a charged history is obscured by the beauty of nature, and cultivated landscapes are contaminated by untold stories and hidden shame.’ At the Hauptbahnhof; in the spirit of dOCUMENTA(13).
* Fulda is the river going through the nature area next to Kassel