April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of death land, mixing Memory and desire T.S. Eliot  

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Book Release

"i left my body behind" by Martian M. Mächler   

Saturday, 2.12.2023 at Kunstmuseum Luzern

A book of narrative poetry published by Wasteland in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Luzern.

This is a book about some body. some body is specialized in the impossible – delivering messages deemed undeliverable. Their call for voluntary work (due to urgency! – and that they seem to squeeze in between working at a factory that produces parts for buttons and breast pumps and serving food at a sensorily overwhelming restaurant) is rain. Rain, that falls down in various shapes, from drizzle to baby-fist-sized hail.

The exceptionally dry summer, in which the fragmented narration takes place, doesn’t offer a lot of those wet opportunities needed for successful delivery. But time cracks seem to open up under- neath shower heads and in front of junctions where rubber boats are carried by their passengers.

Both funny and philosophical, Martian M. Mächler’s auto fictional interweaving of voices present in prose and poetry point at a multiplicity and fluidity that is trapped within constructed binaries - impossible to be bound within a sealed body. The book creates a nuanced space for readers to engage with complex trauma and dissociation as a defense strategy – pointing at the always ready bodyguards trapped in their time zones, hovering around some body – indirectly asking for a more fluid conception of embodiment.

Written in english (occasionally (swiss-)german)
160 pages, edition of 1000, softcover, 126 x 195mm, ISBN: 978-2-8399-4042-9


FOR CHF 20.- instead of CHF 23.50 until 1 December 2023. Order via books(at)wasteland.earth with the subject line "pre-order i left my body behind", number of copies and delivery address.

02.12.2023, 11am-6pm on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition Solo Martian M. Mächler with Esther Vorwerk & André Veigas P. at Kunstmuseum Luzern.

BOOKSHOPS from December 5,2023 on: Paranoia City (Zurich), Queer Books (Bern), Kunstmuseum Luzern (Lucerne)

05.12.2023, 20.00 Texte zum Nachdenken at Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich

12.12.2023, 19:30
“..denn wir sind viele, jede*r einzelne von uns“,  Ein vielstimmiger literarischer Jahresausklang,
feministischer salon basel at Kaserne, Basel

24.01.2024, 18.00 Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern

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a discussion in the context of act 3 at Kreuzbühlstrasse 1 in Zurich  

Sunday,27.2.2022, from 2pm

Hosted by Andrea Abegg Serrano & Anna-Thea Jaeger  

Join the discussion around the current exhibition act 3 by Martian M. Mächler in collaboration with Ludwig Schilling and the building Haus zum Falken.


Moderiert von Andrea Abegg Serrano & Anna-Thea Jaeger 

Eine Diskussionsrunde rund um die aktuelle Ausstellung act 3 von Martina M. Mächler in Zusammenarbeit mit Ludwig Schilling und dem Gebäude Haus zum Falken. 

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act 3

Martian M. Mächler in collaboration with Ludwig Schilling

12.2.2022 —27.2.2022

Friday, 11.2.2022           
4pm –– 8pm
Kreuzbühlstrasse 1, Zurich       

Open on Friday, Saturdays und Sundays 
12 –– 6pm
and by appointment 
+4176 528 16 23

Can a messenger ever deliver that which cannot be said?

The work of Martian M. Mächler is shown at Wasteland, housed in Haus zum Falken (House of the Falcon). Taking a cue from this creature, this work invites us to view language from a birds eye view, rendering through what Federico Campagna calls “Absolute Language.” When Campagna writes about this absoluteness of words, he describes an attempt to wholly capture the world around us; to relinquish the idea of anything outside of defined words. He places “Absolute Language” in contrast to “the ineffable” - forms of communicating which are able to reconstruct the world around us - to actively shape, and re-shape it’s reality-settings. The ineffable represents ways which escape being captured by descriptive language, negating all attempts to put it into ‘work’”. act 3 begins here, at the throat of the ineffable.

Built in 1819, the rooms housing act 3 will soon be demolished to make way for the construction of a new building at the closing of the exhibition. Upon entering this vanishing space, an encounter is established with five characters. The gooey words of these figures temporarily inhabit the windows that make up the world of the space. The audio-scenography, a collaboration with Ludwig Schilling, transmits sounds of the rain, imitations of memories, and moments of uncanny repetitions. This buzzing communi- cation seeps through the various speakers in the space, suggesting possible encounters. Through sound, text and distance, Mächler fragments the idea of a whole self, into a body comprised of many disparate characters. In this fractured soma which miscommunicates and dissociates from itself, each character acts as a guardian, or bodyguard of sorts. Yet, rather than negate this contradictory self, a mode of polyphonic uttering is embraced. Mächler’s research on trauma and psychological therapy models informs this poetic approach towards bodily communication, to the self and to the outside world. Thus, the permeability of language is discovered when pre-existing vocabularies are questioned, as words meld and sounds fill.

I have met these characters before, although they had different names then. We encountered each other in a classroom for a performance collaboration in 2019. Back then I played the role of a post- woman, a person who delivered their messages. I travelled to meet many guardians. Some lived on theater stages, others gave lecture presentations, and one even taught classes in a school. But there is something you should know about the circumstances under which I could deliver the mail. Delivery was only possible when it rained - when paper was wet and words were blurred. I can’t tell you how many times I packed letters full of tears. It seemed clumsy at first, to deliver when it was most wet, how would anyone decipher what the other was trying to say? Eventually though, I understood the slippery comfort of communicating through rain.

Mächler’s exhibition at Wasteland allows a different way for memories to be deposited. Within the poems housed on the windows, and the audio melting through the speakers, the role of the body is actively considered. Thus to describe the ways that a body might communicate within itself and to the outside world attempts to understand how language often fails, and how an ineffable mode of speaking might sound, feel or look like. The audio-scenography by and with Ludwig Schilling places sound as a generous messenger, and the sculptural textile piece in the entrance of the space could perhaps initiate a return to a shared body. Mächler’s exhibit and audio-scenography is the first spatial staging for a book of poems titled “i left my body behind” which will be published this fall.

Anastasia McCammon

Exhibition views by Flavio Karrer

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Anaïs Defago
13.11.2021 —24.12.2021

5pm –– 9pm
Kreuzbühlstrasse 1, Zurich       

Open on Saturdays  
12 –– 5pm
and by appointment 
+41 76 528 16 23

Two platforms are presented side by side. On each, a diagonal of light separates the shaded and the illuminated parts. Despite its persuasive appearance, at first glance, the absence of strong light, or object that explains this diagonal, reveals it. This light beam is a representation, and its location is an arbitrary choice of the artist. The meticulous gestures of the artist and the convincing materiality of these objects that mimic their authentic counterparts (the structures, made of fiberglass, are modelled on concrete benches of Vidy, in Lausanne) confront each other with the decision to represent a part of the surface on which the light plays. The artist’s observations on the effect of light, a recurrent emblem in art history, is thus reduced to a gesture of formal selection. The luminous demarcation is a trompe l’oeil which does not try to convince completely, an aesthetic production which does not satisfy its ambitions. Its iteration in space also repeats its false promises: the observation of the two works, with their small variations, offers no additional information. Its repetition undermines any possible epistemic quality: the work says nothing in relation to a real or metaphorical situation, frustrating both its minimalist literalness and its narrative as a form extracted from an urban environment.

The purity in the gray color of reinforced concrete, in addition to its dense materiality, gives the structure a minimalist connotation; a kind of Ralph Humphrey made urban furniture. Donald Judd, in his review of Humphrey’s exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1960, praises the way his pictorial texture causes an effect of « unique immediacy coexisting with generality.» The painterly craftsmanship of the work recalls Robert Mangold’s «matter of fact» paint application that borrows from the industrial environment of 1960s New York. In the case of Anaïs Defago, the return to naturalism insists instead on capturing these forms in an affec- tionate relationship to these structures, whose anonymity suggests a different relationship than that present in Valentin Carron’s cultural reconstructions. Without adopting a social critique, they present themselves as snapshots of the artist’s subjectivity shared in the public space, as if these false replicas were just as much real reproductions of an affective relationship to these everyday objects.

This relationship contrasts with its semblance of formal austerity. A first grim aspect then lets appear a shy melancholy which tries to preserve places threatened by a smooth aesthetic à
la Google, where everything is well lit, comfortable and technologically monitored. These two islands are then presented as non-productive corners of life outside any promise of efficiency, vulgar places to be preserved.

Paolo Baggi (Text translated from French) 


Deux plateformes sont présentées côte-à-côte. Sur chacune, une diagonale de lumière sépare une partie ombragée et une autre illuminée. Malgré son aspect à première vue convaincant, l’absence de lumière forte ou d’objet qui explique cette diagonale le révèle : ce faisceau lumineux est une représentation et son emplacement un choix arbitraire de l’artiste. La gestuelle minutieuse de l’artiste et la matérialité convaincante de ces objets qui miment leurs authentiques semblables (les structures, réalisées en fibre de verre, sont calquées sur des bancs en béton de Vidy, à Lausanne) se confrontent avec la décision arbitraire de représenter une partie de la surface sur laquelle la lumière agit. La qualité d’observation de l’artiste des effets de la lumière, emblème récurrent de l’histoire de l’art, se réduit ainsi à un geste de sélection formelle. La démarcation lumineuse est un trompe l’œil qui ne cherche pas à convaincre tout à fait, une production esthétique qui ne satisfait pas ses ambitions. Son itération dans l’espace répète par ailleurs ses promesses déçues: l’observation des deux œuvres, avec leurs petites variations, n’offre aucune information supplémentaire. Sa répétition sape toute possible qualité épistémique : l’œuvre ne dit rien par rapport à une situation réelle ou métaphorique, frustrant à la fois sa littéralité minimaliste et sa narration en tant que forme extirpée d’un environnement urbain.

La pureté de la couleur grise d’un béton armé en addition d’une matérialité épaisse donne
à la structure une connotation minimaliste, une sorte de Ralph Humphrey fait mobilier urbain. Donald Judd, dans sa critique de l’exposition de Humphrey à la Tibor de Nagy Gallery en 1960, fait l’éloge de la manière dont sa texture picturale cause un effet d’“ immédiateté unique coexistante avec la généralité ”. La qualité d’artisanat pictural de l’œuvre rappelle l’application de peinture “ matter of fact ” de Robert Mangold qui emprunte à l’environnement industriel de New-York des années 1960. Dans le cas d’Anaïs Defago, le retour à un naturalisme insiste plutôt sur la captation de ces formes dans un rapport affectueux vis-à-vis de ces structures, dont l’anonymat suggère une autre relation que celle présente dans les reconstitutions culturelles
de Valentin Carron. Sans adopter une critique sociale, elles se présentent en tant qu’instantanés de la subjectivité de l’artiste partagés dans l’espace public, comme si ces fausses copies étaient tout autant de vraies reproductions d’un rapport affectif à ces objets du quotidien.

Ce rapport contraste avec son semblant d’austérité formelle. Un premier aspect maussade laisse alors apparaître une mélancolie timide qui s’attache à conserver des lieux menacés par une esthétique lisse à la Google, où tout est bien éclairé, confortable et contrôlé technologi- quement. Ces deux îlots se présentent alors comme des recoins de vie non-productifs en dehors de toute promesse d’efficacité, des lieux vulgaires à préserver.

Text by Paolo Baggi

Exhibition views by Max Ehrengruber