Hybrid WorkSpace

By Amendsen Walter, 10 September 1997

Amendsen Walter on The Documenta's ongoing project

The Hybrid Workspace is 'a temporary laboratory' taking place this summer at the Orangerie in Kassel, Germany as a semi-independent component of the Documenta - a four-yearly exhibition on an epic scale. The ambitious scope of the WorkSpace becomes clear on reading the truly 'hybrid' list of its participating groups (9 of them) who will work in consecutive 'slots' (10 days per group) to produce a cornucopia of content. The WorkSpace will provide the proverbial 'bedspace' to be shared by feminists, media tacticians, sound theorists, lobbyists for issues such as the democratisation of bandwidth distribution and the opening up of geo-political boundaries within Europe as well as analysts of technoscience and urban spaces.

How such "anti-consensual" agendas will be parcelled up together remains the challenge and curiosity of the project. The keyword of its organisers (Eike Becker, Geert Lovink, Pit Schultz, Micz Flor, Thorsten Schilling, Heike Foell and Thomax Kaulmann) is 'inscription'. The multifarious ways in which the groups record and disseminate their work in sum becomes the project's coherent face. Here, the swelling capabilities of the internet to handle audio and visual data will play an important role, and the emphasis on net and radio broadcasts help to break the habitually text-based mould of such meetings of minds. Let's hope that the multiple methods for disseminating the WorkSpace's resulting material will help to resist any danger of a corporate style branding of the valuable work being done there. The event is certainly marked by the curators' and participants high degree of consciousness over the problematic nature of taking action and simultaneously framing its products. So long as the products remain incisive tools for political and theoretical exploration, not exhibits for the net's virtual vitrines, WorkSpace promises to have some interesting outcomes. Walter