Hito Steyerl

When 7 Mar 2015 - 24 May 2015
Where Artists Space
38 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013
United States
Enquiry (212) 226-3970

Opening: Saturday, March 7, 6-8pm

Artists Space is proud to present the first New York survey exhibition on the work of the  filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl, which focuses on the artist’s production from 2004 onwards. Over this period Steyerl’s films, essays and lectures have uniquely articulated the contemporary status of images, and of image politics. Central to her work is the notion that global communication technologies – and the attendant mediation of the world through circulating images – have had a dramatic impact on conceptions of governmentality, culture, economics and subjectivity itself.

Hito Steyerl presents eight existing works and one new commission within an exhibition design conceived by the artist and her team. The exhibition spans both Artists Space venues and also encompasses a program of talks and screenings, and an online aggregation of Steyerl’s writing.

Steyerl studied documentary filmmaking, and her essay films of the 1990s addressed issues of migration, multiculturalism and globalization in the aftermath of the formation of the European Union. Her films November (2004) and Lovely Andrea (2007) mark a move towards the extrapolation of the essay form as an open-ended means of speculation. They locate representations of herself and her friend Andrea Wolf as object lessons in the politics played out within the translation and migration of image documents. Steyerl’s prolific filmmaking and writing has since occupied a highly discursive position between the fields of art, philosophy and politics, constituting a deep exploration of late capitalism’s social, cultural and financial imaginaries. Her films and lectures have increasingly addressed the presentational context of art, while her writing has circulated widely through publication in both academic and art journals, often online.

Alongside November and Lovely Andrea, the exhibition includes three recent films – In Free Fall (2010), Guards (2012) and Liquidity, Inc. (2014) – that extend from research conducted through interviews and the accumulation of visual materials, and in their form shift between forensic documentary and dream-like montage. These works are situated in an exhibition scenography that manifests Steyerl’s engagement with what she has termed “the politics of the monochrome.” This affective state permeates the contexts and image-states the artist addresses, signifying “the end of politics as such (end of history, advent of liberal democracy) and at the same time an era of ‘pure feeling’ that is heavily policed.”

The exhibition also includes three lecture-based works. Through this recently adopted format, Steyerl’s practices as filmmaker and writer intersect – the works begin as public lectures given by the artist, and then find a second form in their documentation and presentation both online and in exhibitions. They are distinctive in placing Steyerl’s investigative voice center stage, and catalyze theoretical speculation with their use of visual and linguistic cues.

Duty Free Art is a new lecture commissioned by Artists Space and presented for the first time preceding the exhibition’s opening reception. It builds a thread of connections between leaked emails from Syrian government accounts and the growing phenomenon of the “freeport” – storage facilities where millions of dollars of artworks are held without incurring taxes. As concentrated sites of the dialectics apparent in Steyerl’s films and writing, her lectures articulate the notion of the artist as performing image, as producer and as circulator. Steyerl has coined the term “circulationism” in order to describe a state that is “not about the art of making an image, but about post-producing, launching, and accelerating it.”

On Sunday, March 8, Steyerl will be in conversation with architect and writer Keller Easterling, addressing shared interests in the “politics of infrastructure,” around which both their recent work has revolved.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

For more information, please click here.