© Gianni Wise, 2012-17

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What is Barelife? View pdf. This contribution to the Documenta Magazine Project (documenta12, 2006), in which a group of artists and writers collaborating with Documenta to generate a discussion around a theme Documenta calls “bare life’.

"This question underscores the sheer vulnerability and complete exposure of being. Bare life deals with that part of our existence from which no measure of security will ever protect us. But as in sexuality, absolute exposure is intricately connected with infinite pleasure. There is an apocalyptic and obviously political dimension to bare life (brought out by torture and the concentration camp). There is, however, also a lyrical or even ecstatic dimension to ita freedom for new and unexpected possibilities (in human relations as well as in our relationship to nature or, more generally, the world in which we live). Here and there, art dissolves the radical separation between painful subjection and joyous liberation. But what does that mean for its audiences?”"