Episode 126: Meszmer/Müller and Book Review

January 27, 2008 · Print This Article

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The Central European Bureau, “EuroShark” Mark Staff Brandl and his new partner Lamis El Farra interview Alex Meszmer of the art team Meszmer/Müller.

Meszmer discusses the exhibition they curated at Projektraum Exex titled “Deconstructing Eden – Fragments of a Perfect Life,” their transitory museum-in-progress called Zeitgarten, the Swiss professional artists’ organization Visarte, and the new group of highly active “alternative” art spaces in Switzerland united under the rubric “Off-Off.”

Terri and Joanna give their book review of Eeee Eee Eeeee by Tao Lin . The “shitty drawing of novels.”

Duncan rages about how F-ing angry he is at the Art Institute of Chicago, and in order to make up for it, rumor has it that he intends to increase his donation to them. If you work in development, please make a note of Duncan’s generosity and contact me at badatsports@gmail.com and I’ll pass along his phone number. He really wants to talk to you ASAP.

Alex Meszmer / Reto Müller / Zeitgarten
IAA / AIAP International Artists Association
Projektraum Exex
Olga Stefan
Thomas Hirschhorn
Hirschhorn Scandal
Christopher Blocher
Pro-Helvetia (Swiss Arts Council)
College Art Association
Off-Off Spaces
Kunstraum Kreuzlingen
Collapsible Kunsthalle
Corinne Schatz
Deconstructing Eden exhibition
Christian Falsnaes
Bella Angora
Catalin Dorian Florescu
Heinrich Gartentor
Aurelio Kopainig
Hina und Maetti
Maurice Maggi
Isabel Rohner
Doris Schmid
Ulrike Shepherd
Olga Titus
We Came in Peace
Nicolas Bonstein/Pierre-André Aebischer (Symphologic)
Rietveld Academie
Vilém Flusser
Bollywood and Switzerland
Der blinde Masseur / The Blind Masseur
Neo-Conceptual Art
Juergen O.Olbrich
Emmett Williams
George Brecht
Allan Kaprow
Joseph Beuys
Green Party
Flieger, Filz und Vaterland
Homeopathic medicine
API, Art in the Public Interest
SP, Sozialdemokratische Partei Schweiz
die Grüne Partei der Schweiz
Pfyn, Ad Finis
The Lake-Dwellers (Pfahlbauer)
Pfahlbauer von Pfyn
The Pfyn Culture
Amt für Archeologie Thurgau
Kanton Appenzell
Thurgau / Thurgovia
Art Museum Thurgovia / Kunstmuseum Thurgau
SVP, Schweizerische Volkspartei
FDP, Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei Schweiz
Swiss Political Parties
Swiss Art Sharkforum
Tao Lin
Reality Bites
Elijah Wood
Sean Penn

Direct download: Bad_at_Sports_Episode_126_Meszmer-Mller.mp3

23 thoughts on “Episode 126: Meszmer/Müller and Book Review”

  1. Balzac says:

    Mark’s piece was interesting and Lamis El Farra was a welcome addition.

    Mark needs to have his guests speak into the microphone more clearly it was at times hard to hear.

    EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeee needed to have been said more in the book review….eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    Great show.

  2. Thanks Balzac. I just got the new equipment and am still learning it. Yeah, Lamis is cool, I should talk with her about her own stuff sometime soon, as she is a recent “convert” to painting and sculpture from literature. Went back to school and just finished. Very talented.

  3. BTW, in case you didn’t get it out of the piece, her name is pronounced “Lah-mees el Fahr-Ah.”

  4. Richard says:

    Maybe next time I’ll butcher it less.

  5. Alex Meszmer says:

    Thx Balzac.
    It was, as always great to discuss things with Mark, as we do, when we meet. Well – and the swiss like to mumble…
    and the bavarians, too…

  6. Richard says:


    Thanks for being on the show!! To be fair, many of our guests are a tad quiet in the mic, not everyone can be loud and obnoxious like most podcast hosts and interviewers!!!

    Bad at Sports

  7. Richard says:

    Scott is faring quite well in the poll!

  8. Ann Onymous says:

    I like the show Grey’s Anatomy motherfucker!

  9. Alex has a point that I have just discovered. One I must work to overcome. The closer you bring the mic to a Swiss person the softer they speak. If you hold it right up, natural-like, to their face they tend to whisper. So no matter what you do, you get very little sound. And you can’t turn the volume up endlessly or you get too much weird background noise — and me and any other Americans or Germans or Italians would come off as shouting.

  10. Alex Meszmer says:

    Pleasure Richard!

    Yeah Mark – btw you missed Catalin Florescu!

    He said sth great about that mumble phenomenon: Foreigners (in his case he was talking about romanians speaking german) tend to pronounce less precise in order to hide their grammar mistakes – so that you won’t find our, wether the other is a foreigner. A tendency to rather be misunderstood than found out being someone from abroad…

  11. Except that the Swiss do that rather across the board in all languages, including Swissgerman. I think, from my paedagogic experience, that they are taught that self-assurance is a kind of vanity or hubris. You know, similar how in most cultures girls tend to be reinforced to be well-behaved and quiet. Something I despise about many teachers. And as you know the German words for ambition like “Ehrgeiz” do tend to be negative, where they are highly positive in American-English. I try to forgive the Swiss for their trained-in false humility — they have so many other positive traits. But I try to get my students out of it. Yeah, I know Americans and Germans are perhaps often too pushy, but I think nowadays you need to be more than ever.

  12. Alex Meszmer says:

    Well, I know what you mean. and I very often “did fall over” my tendency of the german outspokenness – which seems to be unkind in all parts of the world besides germany – and I do learn about the swiss way to see things, which is amazing – that a country can be run, by an absolut democratic common sense. The non – election of Blocher is the best example for how switzerland works: no big fight, no big deal – Blocher just fell, because there was an election. He will try to come back to his heights, but that will be it.
    Perhaps the rest of the world needs to learn about the swiss way to see things -which more and more seems to me, a country with a real democratic common sense – compared to all the other so called democracys:
    US? should that be one? England? not really! France? A state being still run, by fashion and a changing Napoleon? Germany? A whole country always on the lookout for a Führer? Austria? Always hoping to jump back to the old mothercountry? Italy? A chaos for every solution? Japan? A club of individual followers? And the rest? just imitating the given examples…
    Well, good luck world…
    Funny, that democracy is such a big word and the idea for a free community – but is so restricted in all its ways of expression.

    Ups – how did I get that political tonight…

  13. Daniel Anhorn says:

    Thanks MSB for all the swiss info. It will come in handy if i ever visit or claim my citizenship…Now we need a tutorial episode on how to do that! Tschuss!

  14. Hi Daniel. Very Swiss family name you have. Getting swiss citizenship ain’t easy. And you have to serve in the Army till you are 55 or so. I “only” had to pay three years extra tax fo not being in the army and do Civil defense, which in my case was okay because I was put in the Cultural Division as a trained art historian.

    The Swiss info was just to talk about things similar to the US but from a very different angle. I hope we get stuff like that in about Germany, italy and France and so on.

    You are right Alex, politically. But what is best politically is not always a good structure for culture, and vice versa. Often quite the opposite. While consensus and most things being voted on by referendum so on are wonderful, I think, in government (they at least make it very difficult to jump into nonsense at the drop of a hat like trendy political waves or silly wars etc.), a drive to consensus and the drive to avoid polemical argument can be the death of strong personal art, tending to favor well-behaved, follow-the-rules-you memorized art.

  15. Alex Meszmer says:

    Yeah, right Mark. I agree in that. In a way that could be the reason why the swiss artists known outside of switzerland are so rare – on the one hand – and needed to start their career outside of this country. And with a career going on abroad, all the local artists still will belive that you are nothing in comparison to their body of work and their reputation within the region of Glarus, Oberwallis or way behind everything-Jura. It is lovely to live here, because even celebrities are looked at as normal people and there is not much starcult – but it is hard enough to start a career.

    So, Daniel: make your millions abroad, and then come living in quiet switzerland, as Tina Turner, Ralf Schumacher or many others do…

  16. Daniel Anhorn says:

    Millions indeed! …what do they pay teachers in switzerland? I think I can claim the citizenship anytime as my father was swiss; but the millions…that will take a bit longer i think.

  17. Alex Meszmer says:

    Well, the payments vary quite a lot in switzerland. There are some International Schools, that pay low (if they are snobby private schools) or a bit more if they are differently organised.
    Swiss schools pay very good – more than the average wage of a university professor in Germany – again that varys from primary to Highschool (Kanti). But they are not keen to employ teachers, that do have a foreign education. I was always amazed to see, that my applications came back immediately from Swiss “Kantonsschulen” – HighSchools, refusing me, telling me, that I am not qualified enough – although I went through all academic exams in Germany (that require a higher academic standard than for swiss teachers).
    At the same time the swiss art colleges always considered me as highly qualified, even for a job as a professor…

  18. leroy says:

    Another installment of the “our self up our own asses book club”.
    two old ladies with gelled up spikes that are so disturbed.
    they are just wishing everyone would grow up.
    WHAT DOES THE BEAR MEAN? They panic.

  19. Balzac says:


    You are frothing and drooling, get it together man.


  20. Cheezuss! Who is Leroy — the author himself or what? I liked the review.

  21. Balzac says:

    I would hope the author could draft something more interesting than Leroy’s post.

    Maybe it is the Author’s mother.

  22. I thought that maybe it was the author of one of the old reviews. The same-ish name Leroy posted a particularly evil flame at the reviewers for John Andoe’s “Jubilee City: A Memoir at Full Speed”. I just assumed that it was Andoe himself. This idea occured to me in part because he claims that these reviewers didn’t read the book and sites a NY Times review as proof. Who but the artist, or their mother, would do that?

    After that review I googled him and check out his art. Yuck. That dude is lucky people weren’t talking about his “art.” But now that I think about it why would anyone talk about his drawings of horses. You should see them. Although, now that I’ve just googled him again the BAS review is the second thing to come up under his name. Maybe I also would be pissed. Too bad the book is mediocre and his art is worse.

  23. Interesting. I and another artist here in Nottingham UK run a ‘research space’ called Goldfactory (see website link below) but we also have been involved in a ‘social’ mapping project based on recycling/detritus which whilst not delving into the past as in Zeitgarten does work on ‘locality’.



    Interested to hear about project and alas cannot read German so guessing at current state of project.

    thanks for interview Mark

    shaun belcher

    Goldfactory Nottingham

    Nottingham U.K.

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