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The South African author, scholar and curator Jane Taylor has been appointed as an “honorary advisor” to the forthcoming Documenta

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev introducing her team of agents and advisors at Berlin’s Hebbel Theatre
BERLIN — Jane Taylor, a South African author, scholar,
curator and past collaborator with William Kentridge for documenta 11, has been
announced as one of a number of international advisors to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev,
artistic director of the forthcoming dOCUMENTA (13), due to open in 2012.

Speaking at a press conference held at Berlin’s Hebbel
Theatre on Friday, Christov-Bakargiev announced her team of “agents” and “advisors”,
as well as introduced some of her artist chooses.

The quinquennial art event, which happens every five years in the German
town of Kassel, includes two other informants of African origin. They
are Salah M. Hassan, a professor of African and African diaspora art history at
Cornell University and director of Cornell’s Institute for Comparative
Modernities, who like Taylor is designated an “advisor”, and Cameroonian-born
curator and cultural producer Koyo Kouoh, who forms part of the team of

Distinguishing an agent from an advisor is of more than
semantic interest.

Carolyn Christov-bakargiev “In small systems,” explained Christov-Bakargiev in a
press statement, “an agent acts by proxy, and chooses among a number of alternatives,
so that agency is delegated, thus implying an element of uncertainty through
which the system works. An agent, in biology, precipitates a reaction, and in
fiction, an agent suggests someone who is hidden or undercover, never fully
revealing identity. Agere, in Latin, is to act.”

Kouoh certainly bears out this interpretation through her past actions. The
founding director of Raw Material Company, a mobile site for art practice and
critical exchange, Kouoh has in the past collaborated with the Dakar Biennale
(2000-04) and co-curated the Bamako photography biennial in 2001 and 2003.

Demonstrating an open-source approach to thinking, Christov-Bakargiev’s
advisors include professionals from a number of discrete worlds, including art, anthropology, biology,
quantum physics, philosophy, literature, and archaeology.

“Their specific
knowledge and points of view,” she explained in a statement released shortly
after the press conference, “provide a wider context on culture in the world
today and inform the processes of thinking and acting of dOCUMENTA (13), within
which artistic practices and contemporary art, emerge.”

A somewhat awkward press conference, which included a surreal recorded snippet of a Skype conversation between Chritov-Bakargiev and feminist theorist and technoscience doyen Donna Harraway, the announcement was met with no questions by the assembled gathering of 50 international press.

The full list of contributing agents is: Leeza Ahmady,
Ayreen Anastas & Rene Gabri, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Sunjung Kim, Koyo Kouoh,
Joasia Krysa, Marta Kuzma, Raimundas Malašauskas, Chus Martínez, Lívia Páldi,
Hetti Perkins, Eva Scharrer, Kitty Scott, and Andrea Viliani.

The full list of honorary advisors is: Mario Bellatin,
Iwona Blazwick, Ali Brivanlou, Donna Haraway, Salah Hassan, Pierre Huyghe,
Michael Petzet, Alexander Tarakhovsky, Michael Taussig, Jane Taylor and Anton

Art South Africa will feature an exclusive interview with
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in a future update.
International press gathered at Berlin’s Hebbel Theatre

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