Anonymity is a strategy used by many authors to express themselves
freely on certain issues deemed subversive by the authorities or a given circle (denunciation of
abuses of power, situations of violence emanating from institutions and
dominant people, hate speech, compromising relationships, etc.). Anonymity is used
to guarantee freedom of speech and minimise the risk of sanctions, whether
legal, professional, or interpersonal, but does not prevent them.
In his book Domination and the Arts of
the American anarchist and political scientist James C. Scott distinguishes "hidden
text" and "public text". He devises a template to think about
dominant relationships: "Any dominated group produces, by virtue of its
condition, a "hidden text" under the eyes of the dominant, which
represents a critique of power. Dominants, on their sides, also develop a hidden text involving the practices
and underpinnings of their power, which cannot be publicly exposed. »
Duplicity is the rule, but James C. Scott shows
the conditions that can disrupt it.
One of them consists in the use of anonymity,
where the messengers are masked, but the criticism, the message, can nevertheless be direct and
For example, when Nicolas Bourriaud, previously director of the
Palais de Tokyo and the Beaux Arts de Paris, currently director of the Mo.Co and curator
of the Istanbul 2019 Biennale, rises
up against the authors of yesterday's text on
Documentations, notably because of its anonymity, one can wonder about the nature of the power
relationship that exists between Nicolas Bourriaud and the voices that would
challenge his authority. We could ask ourselves: when a debate involves Nicolas
Bourriaud in the French art world, who except Nicolas Bourriaud himself can take on to express himself
If you are interested in the issue of anonymity
in a context of domination, please refer to the literature recommended below:
- Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, The Art of Revolt. Snowden, Assange,
Manning. Stanford University Press, 2017.
- Annika Bender, Death of an Art Critique, 2017, Sternberg Press, 96p.
- Yaman Akdeniz, "Anonymity, Democracy, and Cyberspace" in
(2002) 69(1), Spring, pp 180-194.
- Hans Asenbaum,
"Anonymity and Democracy: Absence as Presence in the Public Sphere"
in American Political Science Review, Volume 112, Issue 3, August 2018, pp.
DOCUMENTATIONS is a participatory media fighting against the conservative and hegemonic discourse that governs art today.