MATZA Edgelands

MATZA Edgelands

MATZA Edgelands is a MATZA initiative conceived in close collaboration with the EDGELANDS Institute. Working side by side, MATZA and the Edgelands Institute seek to develop a common working methodology fuelled by both scientific rigor and creativity. Particularly targeting the margins of cities and informal spaces, MATZA Edgelands’ methodology considers large urban centers as sites of power. Immersing in these contexts, security and community building issues are at the core of the program’s collective reflection and experimentation.

Planned as a 4-year program, MATZA Edgelands takes place successively in the cities of Medellín and Cúcuta (Colombia), Nairobi (Kenya), Geneva (Switzerland), Chicago (USA), Singapore and Beirut (Lebanon) between 2021 and 2025. By building bridges and dialogues between these seven cities, MATZA Edgelands aims to explore the emerging forms of social contract through art. MATZA Edgelands believes that art, combined with other disciplines, holds the power to engage new ways of doing and envisioning the future in a spirit of emancipation and citizen affirmation. In this sense, the projects developed by MATZA and Edgelands Institute are art residencies and exhibitions carried out with the participation of international artists and specialist researchers.

What is MATZA

MATZA is an initiative started in 2014 by Swiss artist Séverin Guelpa that relies on the ability of a community to federate and invent its own tools of emancipation. We are going through a period of upheaval due to a succession of political, social, economic and ecological crises. In the complexity of analysis and the absence of answers to these profound transformations, Séverin Guelpa stands for the position that art can play a determining role in anticipating and feeling fragilities that other disciplines struggle to do. In this sense,  was conceived as a manifesto that focuses on the power of art in creating social change and philosophical innovation through art residencies, exhibitions and workshops. Based on a principle of collective dynamics and collaboration, MATZA immerses into emblematic territories to rethink our relationship with nature and question the future of these regions. MATZA makes the bet that an implied art, moved by collective dynamics and a close contact with the world which surrounds it, can contribute to change in our society.

What “MATZA” means

Like a true ancestor of the popular petition, the matze is a tree trunk that was torn up and moved from village to village in the Upper Valais (Switzerland) at the end of the 15th century in order to mobilize the inhabitants around a common cause. Once convinced, the latter would then plant a nail in the trunk as a sign of rallying. Echoing this tradition and in view of current social issues, MATZA is part of the urgent need to change behavior and explore new ways of living together.

About the curators

Séverin Guelpa is an artist and curator who mainly works on site-specific projects, most of the time related to social, political or ecological issues. Anja Wyden Guelpa has more than 20 years of experience in key management positions both in the private and in the public sector. In 2018, she created civicLab, where she works with her team to advise organizations and managers on innovation and corporate culture, using art, nature and movement for meaningful change. Anja and Séverin started to work together a few years ago by founding and organizing the Uncover workshops in the Swiss Alps.

‍‍Previous MATZA projects

Over the course of almost 10 years, MATZA gathered communities of artists, scientists and experts to work together on issues related to specific context of each site they invested. To date, MATZA has worked in the Mojave Desert in the United States (MATZA Amboy), on the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland (MATZA Aletsch), on the Kerkennah Islands in Tunisia (MATZA Kerkennah), in Meyrin (Switzerland) (MATZA Meyrin) and in Lausanne (Bivouac).

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