Membrane was a small porous patch on the skin of documenta 14. This spot was semi-permeable, penetrable from both sides. A possible danger to the institution, unwanted guests could intrude, while at the same time a chance, since these guests could turn out to dedicate themselves to a positive change. It is important to acknowledge this miniature rupture, because when we are talking about transforming institutions, it is these small voluntary wounds, physical or cognitive, that allow viruses and parasites to bring about productive damage. They lodge themselves in order to foster wonderful mutations in the next cell renewal.
In the 14th iteration of renewal documenta, a complex organism with its own dynamics, aneducation as part of it allowed a closer examination of the structure, subjects and thoughts of this amorphous being. Within the d14 sessions and the School of Listening School of Voices and School of Gesture, applicants were equipped with communicative tools and learned to apply novel terms through which they learnt to use words like „polyphony “, „multitude” and „apparatuses of verification“. New meanings for familiarlong known vocabulary, like „listening”, „learning” or „publics” lubricated their discourse, too.
With the end of this learning phase, some of the students wanted to merge with the big organism, not necessarily as functioning organs, but as affirmative parasites and viruses, productively bringing critique from “outside”. Even if the multi-faceted organism documenta wanted to allow for these things to happen, piercing therapeutic holes into the protective layer was difficult on many levels. Torn between following the rules of exhibition making, the wish of questioning the very base of this behaviour pattern and the painful efforts of the cloning process of this edition it was hardly possible to find the right adressees and the right question to ask. Phrasing goals, planning and feedback meetings demanded more time than expected and often decelerated the pursued progress. Additionally jobs and internships were offered and since the project Membrane didn’t have a financial structure to pay anyone, the attractiveness of legitimate and payed work was high and the energy for wage labour and free labour had to be divided.. Membrane members had become frontier workers between their job identities and the identities of parasites or viruses. They had drifted a bit, but when they were officially allowed to be in this associated in-betweenness, they joined forces in bringing to life the vision of being a “publishing collective”, with publishing being the act of arbitrating between the in- and the outside, using the channels of a project space, a blog and sporadic zines. In June the exhibition in Kassel started/opened.
This phase unloaded in hyperactive and exhausting action. The Membrane group introduced themselves in the form of a blog launch and an opening party. Then they offered a weekly program at “Stellwerk” the student-run project-space that they had been given the opportunity to take over during the 100 days of the exhibition in Kassel. Membrane published a zine and provided a plurality of events throughout the exhibition period every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The formats were ranging from foot-massage interviews via potluck parties to intensive performance programs, and themes circling around the role of archives, improvisation, gesture, intimacy, relationship, knowledge hierarchies, collective action, relationships between smaller organizations and institutions, decolonialising, language politics and the importance of the right here and right now, Currently, Membrane is gathering their parasitic and viral knowledge to finalize their blog and future archive membrane.network.