By the time DocumentA 13 opened in June 2012, the Arab Spring had hit its peak and was on the wane. None the less, it was at this stage when it was fading into history that the Arab Spring became an ideal narrative for the ever so topical and political Documenta. Addressing the Arab Spring and the obvious fact of lives that were lost to the cause was the installation by Sanja Iveković entitled The Disobedient (The Revolutionaries), 2012 which topically traced political martyrs down the annals of history.
The installation included scores of political martyrs however, for various personal reasons, these four resonated with me the most.
… was (the) Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17December 2010, in protest at the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides. His act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring… (Text from DocumentA 13 installation)
… was a Nigerian author, television producer environmental activist. He was a member of the Ogoni people (of) Nigeria whose homeland has been targeted for crude oil extraction since the 1950s. (He was) President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, (leading) a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of (Ogoni) land and water (and) an outspoken critic of the Nigerian government. At the peak of his non-violent campaign Saro-Wiwa was arrested, hastily tried by a special military tribunal, and hanged in 1995… (Text from DocumentA 13 installation)
…commonly known as el Che…was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist. (…) Moments before Guevera was executed he was asked by a Bolivian soldier if he was thinking about his own immortality. “No”, he replied “I’m thinking about the immortality of the revolution. (Text from DocumentA 13 installation)
… a German-Jweish intellectual (polymath)…(whose) work combining elements of historical materialism, German idealism and Jewish mysticism, has made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory and Western Marxism, and has sometimes been associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. As the Wehrmacht defeated the French Defence, on 13 June, Benjamin and his sister fled Paris a day before the German entered Paris (14 June 1940), with orders to arrest him at his flat. (Benjamin escaped however) (e)xpecting repatriation to Nazi hands (he) killed himself … on 25 September 1940. (Text from DocumentA 13 installation)
Word is Sanja Iveković is exhibiting in Documenta 14 also!