Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational Installation, an exhibition by Berlin-based artist Hito Steyerl. The exhibition features two videos as well as sculptural-photographic objects, and is her second with the gallery.
Hito Steyerl is among the most adroit observers of our thoroughly globalized, digitized condition. Her practice describes with uncommon precision the fluidity and mutability of images—how they are produced, interpreted, translated, packaged, transported, and consumed by a multitude of users.
Her video, How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, begins with a sweeping shot of photo calibration targets in the California desert utilized by the military and acts as an instructional film on how to avoid being seen in an age of digital surveillance. The proposals for this include becoming smaller than the pixels of high-resolution satellite surveillance (1 foot) or vanishing in virtual shopping malls using green-screen effects, living in a gated community, or even being a female over 50.
In her own words: “This condition opens up within and by means of an avalanche of digital images, which multiply and proliferate while real people disappear or are fixed, scanned and over-represented by an overbearing architecture of surveillance. How do people disappear in an age of total over-visibility? Which huge institutional and legal effort has to be made to keep things unspoken and unspeakable even if they are pretty obviously sitting right in front of everyone’s eyes? Are people hidden by too many images? Do they go hide amongst other images? Do they become images?”
In another video entitled Strike (2010) she tests the idea to literal breaking point, smashing a blank LCD screen to create a jagged abstract pattern. The screen is destroyed “on-screen”, and the “physical” viewing apparatus becomes palpably present. The film powerfully reminds us that images also have a physical existence; the limitations of its production, replication and dispersal can fundamentally alter its impact.
In addition, the artist explores a system of physical circulation between the viewer and her art works through a series of precise architectural inventions in the space, with a collaboration with the architects at Studio Markus Miessen,Hito Steyerl is a filmmaker, video artist and writer. Currently, the Van Abbe Museum in the Netherlands is hosting her first large-scale mid-career survey show, and in the last year she has had solo exhibitions at both the Art Institute Chicago and the ICA, London. Her work has been included in the 2013 Venice and Istanbul biennales, the 2010 Gwangju and Taipeh biennales, the 2008 Shanghai Biennale, Documenta12 in Kassel in 2007 and Manifesta 5 in 2004. She is a professor of Art and Multimedia at the University of Arts in Berlin.