Hearings: A Reader
|Peter WächtlerCome On|
Edited by John Kelsey and Jakob Schillinger
Passivity and contemplation characterize the narrators of Peter Wächtler’s stories. Some speak from the vantage point of death, musing about their lives, recalling formative experiences and decisive moments. Those still alive seem paralyzed—functioning or malfunctioning within their world, but unable to act upon it. At a moment when narrating experiences seems more important than having them, and when such narrating takes on increasingly standardized forms, Wächtler’s writing foregrounds different narrative techniques and traditions as means of rationalizing one’s place in the world, of grappling with and giving meaning to one’s existence. Unlike the various fatalist and voluntarist doctrines which these stories mime, the social totality here creeps into the picture. Fate turns into slapstick and only as such conveys the horror of life in an administered world. Hollowed-out phrases from the repertoire of communication agencies and shallow love songs are made to speak beautifully of a world that is not—and critical theory proves as potent a means for territorial fights as fists or a kryptonite bicycle lock.
Come On is a MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 publication in collaboration with Reena Spaulings Fine Art. It compiles ten texts by Peter Wächtler written between 2011 and 2013.
Design by Boy Vereecken and Antoine Begon