Visitors of documenta 11 in 2002 must have thought "Ops, what's there?” before they disappeared under the sloping constructed wooden box. A moment of desired participation is captured in our docArt of the month. The detail of one of four constructions from "Gribbohm II b" by John Bock (born 1965) at the Karlsaue is depicted in this colored photograph. The upper third of the image is dominated by the wooden box. In the middle third of the photograph an open curve can be seen in which about nine people stand. Also, the open space of the park can be seen in the lower half of the image. The contents of the box remain hidden from us as a viewer for the time being since Ute Mai who photographed it from the frog's perspective. Maybe she wanted to arouse curiosity and encourage people to enter this seemingly exciting box.


The construction, a hollow wooden box supported on one side by steel tubes was called "V. beam box" by Bock in a sketch for the exhibition. It was one of four structures, arranged in a square to each other, which together as an environment attracted people in the park. Research from archival material on d11 and publications on Bock from the documenta archiv’s library shows that the box here was the last station in the circle "Gribbohm II b" where the recorded videos of his productions were shown. A play that he had written himself was the base and he combined with other actions that were associated with it. The arena or station 1 was therefore the stage, which he called Koppel, on which Bock and his colleagues changed the stage design several times over the period of 100 days. For this he used his permanently freely accessible props warehouse, which was titled in his sketch "warehouse + videos".


The warehouse changed with each performance into a new microcosm or environment and became station 2. As the title suggests videos ran on a screen like in a living room. Bock himself was hidden in an upper room of this prop camp during the day. Visitors who dared to climb the stairs there, for example, received a drawing from him, which he made for them at that moment. Station 3 on his playground was an oval constructed room which he called "Video editing room". Our “V. beam box” was therefore station 4. In order to be able to show videos here, he recorded his productions and performances calling them "lectures", edited them on site and also played them back on the spot as a reminder. Perhaps this shows that Bock studied economics. Though none of his actions were announced at any point. They appeared one day and on the following days one was only able to experience them in the box, but then via another medium. In short, Bock developed a continuing work for d11 at the interface of theatre and performance, from media recording and direct contact and from processual action and usable object.


According to Dieter Bechtloff from „Kunstforum International“, Bock's artistic statement declared that any theoretical system always runs the risk of stabilizing itself to such an extent that its contents are only meaningful in reference to its carrying system. That would be for any theory a case of damage “par excellence”. Only the collapse of reality may restore substance which they've lost over time. What remained silent in the installations, talked loudly in the performances.


Arlett Seidel