Confinement - Michel Kessler - Memory Wheels
March 6, 2021

Memory Wheels

Michel Kessler, PARS TALE VERDIGRIS, graphite on unprimed cotton, 2020. Photo by Nelly Rodriguez.

Covered in vaseline, polycarbonate, and mylar tape, the circular compound eye of knowledge occupies spaces and dreams, zones and fields, areas and seams through ever finer channels from the ocean floor to the edges of the desert and beyond. Hardly anything escapes its gaze. The outside disappears in the network of antennas. Opaque and transparent, the visual cells, turned towards the light, reach the body, penetrate the skin, and illuminate the organs. The fiber optic cable: an instrument of subjugation. Microtechnology in quartz glass, rolled up in drums before laying.

The wheelwork is a diagram of power. Sun-like, similar to a rose window that conveys the light, with points at the edge of the circle like the prongs of a virus crown. All non-knowledge disappears in the invisible appearance of pseudo-pupils, who see without being seen themselves in the unhindered stream of communication that extinguishes the darkness—and with it, every form of negativity. Clairvoyantly, the reified looks of the voyeur rotate as they send signals to control rooms near the border.

Michel Kessler, CHRISTMON, graphite on unprimed cotton, 2020. Photo by Nelly Rodriguez.

With half-closed eyelids, however, a mandala space changes, as if from nowhere, which clouds the clear view: an instrument of immersion, of devotion and contemplation. The magic circle is a parable of the inner image, which must be reimagined every time the soul falls out of balance. Centrifugal movement already ignites monstrous metamorphoses. Through the salt of tears, the snake, the cock, and the pig now become visible in the center of the wheel, from which the spokes radiate out.

A ternarian system. Catch of three and four. Combinatorial figures consisting of several concentric, rotating discs. Mnemonics of Raimundus Lullus. And so, language finally starts its circular motion again around the empty center, the sun cave. Overexposed things in dead angles looking for other words, stepping out of the blindness of sense. Meanwhile, the blind spots grow.


Confinement is a collaborative exhibition curated by gta exhibitions and e-flux Architecture, supported by the Adrian Weiss Stiftung and the ETH Zürich Foundation.

Michel Kessler is an architect and filmmaker based in Zurich. Together with Joana de la Fontaine, he edited the fifth issue of the architecture zine Delphi.

Michel Kessler
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