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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the artistic direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Hito Steyerl

b. 1966, Germany

Hito Steyerl's work as a filmmaker, visual artist, writer, and innovative documentary essayist amounts to a mode that ArtReview described as 'gadfly, striking smartly from the periphery.' She was number one on their Power 100 list in 2017.

Born in 1966 in Munich, this polymath first studied filmmaking at the Academy of Visual Arts in Tokyo (1987—1990) before attending the University of Television and Film in Munich (1992—1998) and writing her doctoral thesis at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2001—2003).

Steyerl currently teaches experimental film and video at the Berlin University of the Arts, where with Vera Tollmann and Boaz Levin she co-founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics. Her theoretical concerns include digital technology, its proliferation of images, and the implications of these images on society, opening up topics such as control, surveillance and militarisation, migration, cultural globalisation, feminism, and the mutability of meaning and political imagery. Her video style consists of images sourced from television, film, and the internet, to create dream-like sequences that shift between fact and fiction, with metaphors and satirical humour further mingling with reality.

November (2004) is a self-reflexive video that used the artist's first movie—-a 'feminist Kung Fu film' shot in the 1980s—-as its departure. The film featured the artist and her then-best friend, Andrea Wolf, who was later shot and killed in Kurdistan in 1998 as a PKK militant. The video 'examines the role of images in the post-revolutionary moment', using the figure of Wolf to explore 'what is nowadays called terrorism and used to be called internationalism'. 'November is the time after October, a time when revolution seems to be over, and peripheral struggles have become particular, localist and almost impossible to communicate', narrates the artist. The post-revolution image is residual, continuing to circulate while political memory itself morphs and changes.

Another early work that encapsulates many of Steyerl's key concerns is Red Alert (2007), an installation of three vertical monitors that emit an identical red hue. The work references the Homeland Security's terror alert system put in place post-9/11. In an interview in ArtSlant, the artist explains that the piece was a reaction to the virtually illegible images on television capturing the American invasion of Iraq. Steyerl explains that, in response, Red Alert 'signals the end of video as a medium for representing something real; it had reached its boundaries. What we see is not an image but the medium itself. The medium is an information filter and it influences our perception.'

In Steyerl's art projects, the moving images and texts shift between fact and fiction—-a notion that is furthered through her use of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence. As part of her London solo exhibition Power Plants at Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2019, for instance, visitors were prompted to download her augmented reality app in order to visualise data related to social inequality. When directed at the gallery's signage, the app also removed the word 'Sackler' to signal the artist's opposition to the gallery's funding from the family whose firm has contributed to the United States opioid crisis. In an Ocula Conversation, the artist states that 'even venerable public institutions like the Louvre are vulnerable, because of the growing ... dependency of art institutions on private funding.'

Steyerl has participated in a number of group exhibitions, including Manifesta 5, Donostia-San Sebastian (2004); documenta 12, Kassel (2007); the 1st Taipei Biennial (2010); the German Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Skulptur Projekte Münster (2017); and May You Live In Interesting Times at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Major solo exhibitions include Focus: Hito Steyerl, Art Institute of Chicago (2012); Duty-Free Art, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2015); Number Thirteen: Factory of the Sun, Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf (2016); The City of Broken Windows, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin (2018); and This is the future, Art Gallery of Ontario (2019). In 2016 the artist was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Royal College of Art in London, and in 2019 she was awarded the Käthe Kollwitz Prize. Steyerl lives and works in Berlin.

Biography by Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

Gosprom, 2015 (For Parkett 97) by Hito Steyerl contemporary artwork
Hito SteyerlGosprom, 2015 (For Parkett 97), 2015 Silkscreen in 7 colours on Invercote G 380gm
27.5 x 27.5 inches
Parkett
Deresolution Tools by Hito Steyerl contemporary artwork
Hito SteyerlDeresolution Tools, 2014 Digital c-prints mounted on Dibond, 5 Avenger stands
Andrew Kreps Gallery
Sandbags/Texture, Kharkiv by Hito Steyerl contemporary artwork
Hito SteyerlSandbags/Texture, Kharkiv, 2015 UV pigment print on dibond
100 x 100 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery
Tent/Texture, Kharkiv by Hito Steyerl contemporary artwork
Hito SteyerlTent/Texture, Kharkiv, 2015 UV pigment print on dibond
100 x 100 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery
Hell Yeah We Fuck Die by Hito Steyerl contemporary artwork
Hito SteyerlHell Yeah We Fuck Die, 2017 Skulptur Projekte Munster, Germany
Andrew Kreps Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Christoph Keller | Hito Steyerl | Tao Hui at Esther Schipper, Berlin
Closed
27 June–17 August 2019 Group Exhibition Christoph Keller | Hito Steyerl | Tao Hui Esther Schipper, Berlin

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World Ocula Conversation Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World

'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...

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Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh Ocula Conversation Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh Executive Directors, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Having held the dual role of co-directors of Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art (IMA) for almost two years, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh have shaken up the city’s contemporary art landscape. The unprecedented formulation of a joint vocation of director and curator shared between two people saw two outsiders hailing from Canada and...

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In Related Press

View All (26)
Artist Hito Steyerl Rebukes German Institutions, Acting in Solidarity With Kurdish People Related Press Artist Hito Steyerl Rebukes German Institutions, Acting in Solidarity With Kurdish People Hyperallergic : 30 October 2019

Artist Hito Steyerl demands that state-run German art institutions stop showing her work as part of the country's "external cultural diplomacy" until the country changes its policy toward the Turkish invasion of Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. Steyerl made her demand in a performance piece on Saturday, October 26, at the Maxim-Gorki...

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Up in Arms: Hito Steyerl at the Park Avenue Armory Related Press Up in Arms: Hito Steyerl at the Park Avenue Armory Art in America : 3 July 2019

When you hear a reference to "the Armory" or "the Arsenale," are you more likely to think of an exhibition space, an art fair, a biennale—or a militarized building constructed to house a stockpile of weapons? In her exhibition Drill, on view through July 21 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, Hito Steyerl reminds us...

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Hito Steyerl’s Indictment of the Park Avenue Armory’s Ties to Gun Violence Misses Its Mark Related Press Hito Steyerl’s Indictment of the Park Avenue Armory’s Ties to Gun Violence Misses Its Mark Hyperallergic : 1 July 2019

If somebody were to write a new Book of Revelation for the 21st century, it would read a lot like the multimedia miseries of Hito Steyerl. The 53-year-old German artist is foremost a researcher interested in the effects of globalization, the onslaught of technology, the future of labor, and our susceptibility to abuses under this new techno-regime....

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HITO STEYERL with Osman Can Yerebakan Related Press HITO STEYERL with Osman Can Yerebakan Osman Can Yerebakan : 1 July 2019

Presenting a commissioned video installation and existing work by multimedia artist Hito Steyerl, Drill at the Park Avenue Armory is the Berlin-based artist's most expansive presentation in the United States to date. Installed inside the historic Gothic Revival style building's various rooms and sprawling Wade Thompson Drill Hall, the exhibition...

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