Text:Martin Hentschel

State on Wave by Elmar Hess describes the fic­tive bio-gra­phy of the son of a diplo­mat, Nico­laus Maron. Maron, who in a key dream dis­cov­ered the depths of a hyp­no­tised mass soci­ety as its spir­i­tu­al lead­er­ship , was trau­ma­tised even as a child and became increas­ing­ly involved in the phan­tasms of a rad­i­cal social mod­el dom­i­nat­ed exclu­sive­ly by indi­vid­ual forms of per­cep­tion, speech and expres­sion. The utopia, actu­al­ly born from crit­i­cism of bureau­crat­ic polit­i­cal and cul­tur­al man­age­ment, in its finals ver­sion increas­ing­ly tips over into dic­ta­tor­ship that imme­di­ate­ly destroys the desired eman­ci­pa­tion of per­son­al per­cep­tion.

Hess’s absurd humour pre­cip­i­tates a mul­ti-faced sce­nario of social crit­i­cism and absur­di­ty of high­er order. (…)

Text:Nikolaus v. Wolff

In State on Wave, the indi­vid­ual changes from unsuc­cess­ful­ly defend­ing his indi­vid­ual sphere to suc­cess­ful­ly attack­ing pre­vail­ing real­i­ty. Thrown back on him­self, between a fas­cist class soci­ety in heav­en (dur­ing a dream sequence) an igno­rant, stu­pid cul­ture on earth, Maron takes up the fight against the pre­vail­ing social order after his return from heav­en. Abstruse­ly iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as a ship, Maron mows down all resis­tance as he pass­es through the insti­tu­tions, until he final­ly arrives at the emp­ty space where his own para­dox pow­er is based. Only the pop singer Lesha offers Maron a way out of his closed world, which, pre­cise­ly because it is so closed, is no eager to expand. In the course of the sto­ry, how­ev­er, her suc­cess becomes a threat to his ide­ol­o­gy: after her last tri­umphant con­cert, at which she arrives in a heli­copter, Maron has her arrest­ed. Idols are dam­ag­ing to the devel­op­ment of the ego. The pro­tag­o­nist thus final­ly clos­es him­self off from the world. The dilem­ma between imple­ment­ing polit­i­cal ideals and per­son­al objec­tives which tend to be tak­en ad absur­dum when they are realised, as they become repres­sive, is a way for the indi­vid­ual to get his own back on a con­struc­tive sys­tem. obses­sion tak­en to extremes becomes repres­sion. (…)

Elmar Hess reflects the inter­ac­tion between the world of the indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive demands, with­out being ide­o­log­i­cal. In his work, oppo­si­tion to the prin­ci­ple of real­i­ty is always play­ful, and unmasks extrem­ist ide­olo­gies as total­i­tar­i­an.