Art and Public Space

Gerard Drosterij


The Question of Artistic Publicness
This article deals with the ambivalent relationship between art and public space. On the one hand art is seen as a human expression which awards public spaces with precious insights. On the other hand it is said that art – especially public art – is more and more encapsulated by the hegemony of big institutional players. The question arises how art can stay relatively independent while remaining publicly influential. In other words, how to define art’s position in public space?

Some say that a solution to the above dilemma is to challenge powerful social hierarchies. Because artists are worried that art is getting trapped between commercialism and state patronage, an agonistic approach to art in public space is seen as the only way out. Unravelling the structure of knotted power might turn art into a new counter culture; and in a time of raging global capitalism, many would welcome this.

I have reservations about the agonist conception of public space, however, and will propose an alternative conception. In my opinion the power of art in public space lies in its capacity to create a sense of publicness: to suggest, through its very particularity, a connection between the addressee’s aesthetic impressions and his or her ideas of the world at large. If an art work succeeds in evoking a sense of publicness, it might create a public space among a greater audience. In any case, art has no obligation to entertain a political commitment, that is, to understand itself to be socially interdependent and embedded in power relations, which consequently needs to be communicated to its audience.

I will explain this thesis by comparing different conceptions of public space, but will concentrate on the agonist conception since it has become rather influential in current discourses about art and public space – not least concerning the debate about art and the Amsterdam-Zuidas.

Documenta 12: Aesthetic Challenge or Perverse Conservatism?
If something was absent in documenta 12, it was rhetorical and visual bombast. Some even complained about the lack of thematic and literary direction whilst visiting the exhibition. Documenta 12 caused confusion and a loss of direction. The Aue-Pavillion – a huge glass house construction with metallic curtains and brown floors – was an especially unwelcome place, it was said, a place where orientation was annoyingly difficult.1 Although I had the same experience, initially, I started to appreciate the inside absence in the Aue-Pavillion of preordained destinations and museological contextualizations. It took some effort to accept the crisscross positioning of the art objects, but ultimately it was challenging to be thrown back on just observing, thinking, memorizing and associating. The horizontal architecture of the pavilion forced the visitor to concentrate on the works of art themselves, and to make the connections himself. The visual result was a wandering attendance that was magically blended with the works of art.

I guess that a visit to documenta 12 gave way to the sensation that director Roger M. Buergel and curator Ruth Noack had in mind by creating its ‘inherent formlessness’:2 to invite visitors to choose their own path. In Buergel’s portrayal: ‘They tend to feel the challenge deeply and they counter this challenge by seeking for identity. But how does one keep the balance between identification and fixation? Art can teach us that discipline … This is aesthetic experience in its true sense: the exhibition becomes a medium in its own right and can thus hope to involve its audience in its compositional moves.’3 Not the form of the exhibition itself but the form of its art was to the concern of Buergel and Noack. After a barrage of political engagement during the former documenta, they choose to let art speak for itself. A rather daring gesture; to reposition art in the centre of attention and see how it speaks of the world.

Documenta 11 was different. Its message outweighed the medium. Not art itself but the socio-political context in which art operated stood at the forefront – in the words of director Okwui Enwezor ‘yet another turbulent time of unceasing cultural, social, and political frictions, transitions, transformations, fissures, and global institutional consolidations.’4 How art was supposed to deal with this constellation was documenta 11’s question. It was, Enwezor wrote, the ‘challenge of making meaningful articulation of the possibilities of contemporary art in such a climate, as well as the disciplinary, spatial, temporal, and historical pressures to which it has been subjected, represent the diagnostic, deliberative process out of which the full measure of documenta 11 has been engaged.’5 Documenta 11 burdened art with politics. Art had to render account of its message. ‘In the democratic system’, Enwezor stated, ‘the demands of citizenship place strong ethical constraints on the artist, based on his or her commitment to all “forms of life.” The practice of art presents the artist with the task of making such commitment.’6 Enwezor only saw two courses for art to steer: clear of or towards politics. Yet, in effect the former option is out of this world, it is ‘not only perversely conservative but, more importantly, misunderstands the nature of the critical energy that drives the conditions of artistic production … ‘7

Buergel and Noacks’s intention has been somewhat more laid-back than Enwezor’s almost aggressive stand.8 Instead of focusing on today’s world wide web of complexities art’s inescapable theater – they have taken a big step back by posing the classic art question of the ‘internal dynamic destinies of form’.9 Thinking of documenta 12, Buergel said he wanted to be ‘idiotic’: acknowledging his ignorance, and moving away from the burden of current public conventions.10 ‘Wir vertrauen der Kunst’11 is a remark that stands in sharp contrast to Enwezor’s political perception of artistic commitment.

Modernity and Three Conceptions of Public Space
The idea that art needs to challenge the socio-political status quo is quite a popular thought today; but in my opinion in need of some serious assessment. Why should artists have to think of their art as stemming from a political disposition? And why does art have to be activist and critical in order to be called truly public? Below I will compare several conceptions of public space and thereby hope to illustrate that these assumptions are not satisfactory. Art can do perfectly well in public space without a political mission statement.

We could say that ever since Beethoven – while having a walk with Goethe – decided not to bow to the approaching Archduke Rudolph,12 the discourse about the arts changed into the question about art’s meaning for free citizens. Or as Robert Hughes has put it: ‘The idea of a cultural avant-garde was unimaginable before 1800. It was fostered by the rise of liberalism. Where the taste of religious or secular courts determined patronage, “subversive innovation” was not esteemed as a sign of artistic quality.’13 Beethoven undoubtedly represented this subversive innovative spirit14 as he was everything but obedient to political power. Beethoven was a democrat15 and personified a new kind of freedom, namely to be free in one’s artistic creations from political directives.

At the same time, modern artistic freedom raised the question about its public implications – what was it for? As the sovereign became the public, a wide discussion about art’s quality was inevitable. A public sphere in the world of art emerged,16 with the salon as its central place.17 The discussion about the public meaning of art has never stopped, and especially today, during a time of great international turbulence, it is seen as more critical than ever to hold.

At present agonist theory is rather influential in explaining art’s role in public space. An important defender of this theory is Chantal Mouffe, whose writings (together with Ernesto Laclau) have unmistakably helped to prepare documenta 11’s conceptual framework.18 According to Mouffe the prime function of art in public space is to radicalize democratic society, to bring into the open its inherent power struggles. The idea that public art should challenge and agonize hegemonic interests stems from Mouffe’s basic belief that ‘[a]ny social objectivity is constituted through acts of power. This means that any social objectivity is ultimately political and has to show the traces of the acts of exclusion that govern its constitution … ’19 Hence, public space is the domain in which we need to transform antagonistic power relations into agonist relations: ‘Antagonism is struggle between enemies, while agonism is struggle between adversaries.’20

The idea of agonism goes back to the late nineteen-fifties. It was the time of intense emancipatory impulses (e.g. existentialism, Beat Generation, feminism) and in art of the rise of the ‘neo-avant-garde’.21 The general worry of artists and intellectuals was the disappearance of public space, be it in relation to artistic innovation, democratic legitimacy, or public morals. The creation of a counter culture was needed, vital to shake off the tarnished legacy of Western bourgeois culture (capitalism, universalism, neo-colonialism etc.). The term ‘agonist’ stems from Hannah Arendt, who was deeply inspired by Greek publicness, which she characterized as ‘a fiercely agonal spirit’.22 Greek publicness was a manifestation of individuality and particularity, a result of the belief that ‘man is capable of action [and] that the unexpected can be expected from him, that he is able to perform what is infinitively improbable.’23 Arendt formulated her agonist conception of public space as an alternative to the dominant liberal conception of public space, characterized by a technocratic idea of politics on the one hand, and a materialistic understanding of interests and ideas that were exchanged in public on the other. The idea that a political elite, being democratically elected, could wisely aggregate the preferences of the people24 was increasingly seen as a false neutralization of the political status quo. The public was made private as it were, being left out of political decisions that surely were of its concern. Democratic politics could not be limited to the occasional voting of political representatives. A strong democratization was called for which needed to take place through a political injection of public space.

Next to agonist theory, a second political alternative to the aggregative approach of public space was formulated during the early nineteen-sixties: deliberative theory, as represented by Jürgen Habermas.25 Instead of Arendt’s expressivist solution Habermas wanted to improve public space by rational deliberation. The opinion of the public needed to be taken seriously by setting up networks of communicating citizens. The object was to reach rational consensus about core values of democratic politics. So, while Arendt returned to the classical ideal of public excellence in order to reclaim public space, Habermas returned to the Enlightenment idea of public reason.
However, Mouffe stresses that her theory breaks with Arendt’s. She criticizes Arendt for still being influenced too much by Western universalism and for maintaining a liberal idea of diversity and plurality.26 Mouffe, in contrast, proceeds from the idea of ‘the hegemonic nature of every form of consensus and the ineradicability of antagonism’.27 Because antagonism is part and parcel of contemporary societies, consensus will always be artificial, identities fluid, and instability forever present. Public space activity is therefore centred on challenging political dominance. And, by making ‘visible what the dominant consensus tends to obscure and obliterate’, art can be of help with this assignment, she thinks.28

To be sure, both the deliberative and agonist conception of public space are political. Despite their different intellectual backgrounds they contemplate an approach to public space in which meaning needs to be publicly challenged. Words, acts and identities should be publicly discussed or agonized since they are effectively non-neutral; their meaning is expressed within a context of power and domination and needs to be subjected to publicity, accordingly. Hence, aesthetics becomes politics, or Dasein becomes Design, as Henk Oosterling has stylishly put it.

The difference between the deliberative and agonist conceptions, however, lies in their definition of the political purpose of public space. According to deliberative theory it should be focused on a rational discussion based on democratic values (e.g. sincerity, truthfulness, equality) with the aim of reaching social consensus and harmony. Since the nineteennineties the deliberative approach to public space has revived and led to a wide array of communicative and interactionist art. This art is lead by the ‘ideal of social renewal by cultural challenge’29 and is often processbased: it examines whether its activities empower a democratic culture, whether they promote understanding, toleration, interculturality etc. Jeroen Boomgaard has stressed the difference between the dominant agonist engagement of the nineteen-sixties and today’s communicative (or deliberative) engagement: ‘The basis for much committed action in public space is no longer the disruption of the system or the erosion of structure, but individual contact or interaction with a limited and clearly circumscribed group. The emphasis is on participation in everyday life, not on action that unmasks everyday and exposes the hypocrisy of power.’30

Still, like the agonist conception of public space, deliberative engagement in public is seen as political. The ideal-typical understanding of public deliberation is democratic: identity and meaning are constituted in a process of communication and interactivity.31 So, whether deliberative or agonistic, both models believe that theorizing public space is essentially political. They have left the classical liberal public/private approach that started in Beethoven’s age, which made a principal difference between artistic publicness and political publicness – and which located real freedom in the former.

Introducing a Fourth Conception of Public Space
I have strong reservations about a political characterization of public space in general, and in relation to art in particular. The very value of an artistic public space lies in the freedom not to think about political decisionmaking. It is nonsensical to demand democratic responsibility of art, to expect that it should determine its position regarding political issues.

Public space activities in general should be concerned much less with questions about power modification, policy making or problem solving, but rather with contemplating, comparing and demonstrating. The sensation of publicness, and what a public space should safeguard, does not lie at the end of the epistemic spectrum – politics – but at its very beginning; namely, with the imagination of subjective experience.

I therefore suggest a different approach to public space. And if we put the three conceptions of public space that I have sketched below in a scheme, my preferred conception of public space will become automatically clear. A fourth conception of public space remains to be discussed.32

The aggregative model – whose influence today is still prevalent, of course – defines public space as an economical and technical way to optimally aggregate ideas and interests. The market is the prime mechanism to do this because it is seen as a rational and fair device. Furthermore, according to this model public space is not specifically political because people’s interests are being defined and discussed in society itself. This makes the model unmistakably (neo)liberal. It stresses that, relatively independent from political decision making, a wide array of non-political ways of human interaction exists (art, trade, industry etc.). It is the task of political institutions to rationally aggregate all these different preferences.

Although the deliberative model also defines public space as a rational mechanism, it is seen as distinctively political. Merely aggregating ideas and interests will not lead to legitimate democratic decisions. Social theorist Jon Elster has written: ‘The core of [deliberative] theory, then, is that rather than aggregating or filtering preferences, the political system should be set up with a view to changing them by public debate and confrontation.’33 Reason should improve the democratic quality of society.

The agonist model shares with the deliberative model a political conception of public space; however, not with the intention to rationally discuss ideas and interests but to agonize them in order to lay bare their hidden power structure. This cannot be done rationalistically since to understand reality is, in Mouffe’s words, not to bring mere arguments and justifications to the fore but to especially acknowledge that power constitutes social reality. This is an ontological position (a conception of human reality) and stands at the basis of a political definition of public space.

Now, in line with the aggregative conception of public space, I argue for a nonpolitical conception of public space. I believe that publicness is in no way automatically political. I consider the analytical difference between public space and politics as the essence of democracy since it provides citizens – and not least artists – with the freedom and opportunity to independently express their imagination, craft and intelligence. I call it therefore a civil conception of public space because public space activities evolve around the institutionalization of civil society.

Importantly, I share Mouffe’s critique of a rationalist portrayal of public space and prefer an ontological understanding instead. Yet my idea of ontology is exactly the reverse of Mouffe’s agonist publicness. An ontology is not a priori related to the intrinsic political constitution of social reality (embedded in power relations), as Mouffe would have it, but is related to man’s particular reflection on aspects of human existence that cannot be put in a scientific language. As Otto Duintjer has written: ‘Ontological statements do not refer to the reality in itself, but clarify our understanding of what we take as “existence” or reality, given the contex of a certain praxis, or broader, given a dominant world view within a certain time and culture’. 34 An ontoloy us constituted by the dialect between our particular sensations and general impressions of the world. While the world is ‘filled’ with socially constructed artefacts, underneath these ‘architectures’ particular intuitions and experiences play a crucial role in understanding them. Civil publicness is centred on the reflection on the very dialectic, which is, as Habermas once wrote, ‘a process of self clarification of private people’ 35 – of a people independent from political or social imperatives.

Artistic Publicness
A civil conception of public space is most sympathetic to thinking about art’s position in society. The idea that publicness ia an ontological sensation in a non-political environment goes well with the idea of artistic publicness. Works of art may invite the public to contomplate their particular aesthetic sensations in question, through which a different or deeper understanding of the world might be achieved.36 Buergel writes: ‘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 those things without sacrificing their particularity is one of the great challenges of an exhibition like the documenta.’37 This requires an open mindset, and accepting ‘[t]he possibility of not understanding, of a total failure to relate … in order to enable other ways of understanding, other forms of relation’.38

In this respect a political conception of artistic publicness is deficient for it does not acknowledge the many other public expressions, actions and manifestations of art that are not focused on challenging dominant power r·elations. The virtue of publicness in general is not to agonize social reality per se, but to understand it, to theorize it, and even to classify it. The purpose is to develop different forms of organization in which the dialectic of publicness (in which private sensations are indispensable) can prosper.

Documentas 11 and 12 have demonstrated the difference between a political and nonpolitical conception of artistic publicness. In the end, I think, art’s potential to carry political statements only will increase if we discard any a priori political single-mindedness. As Boomgaard has put it: ‘Art should be concerned about the world, but artists must continue to create their own platform and not allow themselves to become string puppets in the official commitment Show.’39

Bringing back artistic publicness caused Buergel to tone down documenta’s ambitions (or not, you could say), and to return to the ‘simple’ issue of the relation between the public, art and the world. Whether he has succeeded or not is less important than what he has tried to do, I think. In this respect it is telling how he writes about the first documenta (1955), which he compliments for being ‘a form of organization.’40 The exhibition raised the question of where art stands and where we stand, Buergel explains. And although he acknowledges documenta’s very particular post-war context, he sees it as exemplary because it ‘took place neither on the basis of the country’s [West Germany, GO] new constitution, nor on the basis of religious or political beliefs … Within the context of documenta, the public constituted itself on the groundless basis of aesthetic experience – the experience of objects whose identity cannot be identified. Here there was nothing to understand, in the true sense, no preconceptions, which is precisely why it was possible and essential to talk about everything, to communicate about everything. The exhibition was, in short, an act of civilization.’41

Public space is not inherently political. That has been the basic argument of this article. Likewise, public art in no way needs to be political. The expression and experience of publicness arises in all sorts of ways, relates to a collection of topics. It does not necessarily include a commentary on authority or domination. The essence of public space lies in the organization of publicness. It should provide for a spatial perpetuity, an enduring architecture, that is inviting to artistic publicness: the striking experience of the human condition through particular aesthetic expressions. An understanding of how such publicness can be evoked by art – unexpectedly, emotionally, dramatically, unanticipatedly42 – shows precisely its distinctive (and tragic) beauty. A civil conception of public space stresses that the organization of artistic publicness is nonpolitical and ontological.


1. See e.g. Jonneke Wesseling, ‘Door een gat in de ruit’, in: NRC Handelsblad, Cultureel Supplement, 22 June 2007, p. 22 and Holland Cotter, ‘Asking Serious Questions in a Very Quiet Voice’, in: The New York Times, 22 June 2007.

2. Roger M. Buergel and Ruth Noack, ‘Preface’, in:
Cotalogue Documenta Kassel 16/06 – 23/09 2007 (Cologne: Taschen. 2007), p. 10.

3. Ibidem, pp. 11·12.

4. Okwui Enwezor, ‘Preface’, in: Documenta_11 Platform 5:
Exhibition, Short Guide (Ostfeldern·Ruit: Hatje-Cantz. 2002), p. 6.

5. Ibidem.

6. Okwui Enwezor, ‘The Black Bax’, in: Documentall Platform 5: Exhibition, Catalogue, (Ostfeldern.Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2002), p. 54.

7. Ibidem, p. 53.

8. In his introduction to Platform l_Documenta 11:
Democracy Unrealized, Enwezor does not mention art once. Elsewhere he states: ‘To understand what constitutes the avant-garde today, one must begin not in the field of contemporary art but in the field of culture and politics, as well as in the economic field governing all relations that have come under the overwhelming hegemony of capital.’ Enwezor, ‘The Black Box’, op. cit., p. 45 (see note 6).

9. Buergel and Noack, ‘Preface,’ op. cit., p. 12 (see note 2).

10. Roger M. Buergel in: Hanno Rauterberg, ‘Revolte in Kassel’, in: Die Zeit, 12 April 2007.

11. Ibidem.

12. As Ludwig van Beethoven explained in a letter to Bettina Brentano in 1812. In: Romain Rolland, Het leven van Beethoven, 1927 (Wereldbibliotheek, 1948) p. 36.

13. Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980, 1993), p. 372.

14. ‘Kings and Princes may install learned men and secret councils; and bestow them with titles and knighthoods; they cannot produce great men, giant minds that rise above the world’s muck.’ Beethoven in: Rolland, op. cit., p. 36 (see note 12), my translation.

15. Recall the ‘Eroica tale’: Beethoven originally dedicated his Third Symphony Eroica to Napoleon but later removed his name from the front page when Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor.

16. Magnificently set out by Habermas. See: Jürgen Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, transla· tion: Thomas Burger (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1962, 1996), original title: Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit:
Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft.

17. ‘The bourgeois audience did not invent the salon but it did create the permissions within which the artistic voriety that the salon, by 1820, had come to express could ferment on avant·garde.’ Hughes, op. cit., p. 373 (see note 13).

18. Her article ‘For an Agonistic Public Sphere’ was published in: Okwui Enwezor (ed.), Platform l_Docu· menta11: Democracy Unrealized (Ostfeldern-Ruit: HotieCantz, 2002).

19. Chantal Mouffe, ‘Democracy, Power, and the “Political”‘, in: Seyla Benhabib (ed.) Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. 245-256. See also Chantal Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox (London/New York: Verso, 2000) p. 98.

20. ‘[An adversary is] somebody whose ideas we combat but whose right to defend those ideas we do not put in question.’ Mouffe, The Democratic Paradox, ibidem,
p. 102. See also Mouffe’s article elsewhere in this volume. 21. Hal Foster, The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (Cambridge/MA: MIT Press, 1996), pp. 3 ff.

22. Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958, 1998), p. 41.

23. Ibidem, p. 178.

24. ‘The democratic method is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions which realises the common good by making the people itself decide issues through the election of individuals who are to assemble in order to carry out its will.’ Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1943, 1987), p. 250.

25. ‘Tendencies pointing to the collapse of the public sphere are unmistakable, for while its scope is expanding impressively, its function has become progressively insignificant.’ Habermas, op. cit., p. 4 (see note 16).

26. ‘[Arendt] never acknowledges that this plurality is at the origin of antagonistic conflicts. According to Arendt, to think politically is to develop the ability to see things from a multiplicity of perspectives …. Despite significant differences between their respective approaches, Arendt, like Habermas, ends up envisaging the public space in a consensual way.’ See Chantal Mouffe, ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces,’ in: Art & Research: A Journal of Ideas, Contexts, and Methods, 1/2, Summer 2007. See the parallel from an art historic perspective when Enwezor defends a third perspective of art, which he calls postcoloniality, next to modernism and avant-garde: ‘[I]n a sense, the avant-garde and formalist art [modernism, GD] share a common assumption in the completeness of their visian, which is to say: to secure the past and maintain tradition, ar to depart vigarously from the past and renovate tradition.’

27. Mouffe, ‘Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces’, ibidem. To be sure, I have strong doubts about Mouffe’s interpretation of Arendt, but lack of space forces me to let this issue rest.

28. Ibidem.

29. Hughes, op. cit., p. 365 (see note 13).

30. Jeroen Boomgaard, ‘The Platform of Commitment’, in: Jeroen Boomgaard et aI., One Year in the Wild, (Amsterdam: Gerrit Rietveld Academie/Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2004), p. 46. Hal Foster’s idea of the ‘ethnographic turn’: ‘Only with the ethnographic turn in contemporary art and theory … is the turn from mediumspecific elaborations [modernism] to debate-specific projects so pronounced.’ Foster, op. cit., p. xi (see note 21).

31. For a Dutch example of a deliberative or communicative conception of public space, see Rene Boomkens, Een drempelwereld: moderne ervaring en stedelijke apenbaarheid (Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, 1998), p. 53; for a conception of public space that balances between deliberative and agonistic, see Henk Oosterling, ‘Groatstedelijke reflecties: De verbeelding van de openbare ruimte’, in: Henk Oosterling and Siebe Thissen (eds.), Grootstedelijke reflecties: Over kunst & openbare ruimte, InterAkta 5, 2002, p.11; Henk Oosterling, ‘Bouwen voorbij gated communities en no go areas: of hoe onherbergzaam zijn hedendaagse individuen?’ in: Dennis Kaspori and Henk Oosterling, Bewoningsinterventies: een prospectus voor alternatieve woningbouw (Rotterdam: The Maze Corporation, 2003), pp. 97-139; Dennis Kospori, ‘Een communisme van ideeen: Ncar een open source architectuurpraktijk’, in: Archis, no. 3, 2003.

32. I have analyzed these models of public space in relation to political theory in depth elsewhere: Gerard Drosterij, ‘Mind the Gap: Three Models of Democracy, One Missing; Two Palitical Paradigms, One Dwindling’, in: Contemporary Political Theory, 6/1, 2007, pp. 45-66.

33. Jon Elster, ‘The Market and the Forum: Three Varieties of Political Theory’, in: James Bohman and William Rehg (eds.), Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reasan and Politics (Cambridge/MA: The MIT Press, 1986, 1997), p.11.

34. Otto Duintjer, Rondom metafysica: over ‘transcendentie’ en de dubbelzinnigheid van de metafysica (Meppel: Boom, 1988). pp. 7-8, my translation.

35. Habermas, op. cit., p. 29 (see note 16).

36. Cf. Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (New York/London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1974, 1992),p. 4 37. http://www.documenta12.de/leitmotive.html?&L= 1, last visit: 13 September 2007.

38. Roger M. Buergel, ‘The Origins’, in: Madernity, Documenta 12 Magazine (Koln: Taschen, 2007), pp. 25-39.

39. Boomgaard, ‘Platform of Commitment’, op. cit., p. 51 (see note 30).

40. Buergel, ‘The Origins’, op. cit., p. 32 (see note 38).

41. Ibidem, p. 31.

42. Cf. Jeroen Boomgaard, ‘An Injection of Planlessness’, in: Jeroen Boomgaard et aI., One Year in the Wild, op. cit., pp. 9- 18 (see note 30).

Gerard Drosterij is a political scientist and is currently finishing his thesis (Politics as Jurisdiction), which centers on the public/private distinction in political theory. He is co-editor (with Toine Dams and Ken Vos) of Intruders: Reflections on Art and the Ethnological Museum (Zwolle: Waanders, 2004).