Art, Tech & Culture

Proxies and Placeholders

Art, Tech & Culture
22 Feb, 2016

Proxies and Placeholders


Read our Revisited post of this event here.

Original Post

Hito Steyerl is one of the most critically acclaimed artists working in the field of video today. Holding a PhD in philosophy from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and teaching at the Universität der Künste Berlin, she is also a frequent contributer to E-Flux magazine, a lecturer, and an engaged thinker on the topics at the core of her practice: the materiality of digital media, technological manipulation, and institutional power relations.

Born in Munich, Steyerl studied film at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image and the University of Television and Film in Munich. Her work was soon selected for the 2008 Shanghai Biennale and the 2010 Gwangju Taipei biennials. In 2010, Steyerl was awarded the New Visions Award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival for her film In Free Fall. She has also been prominently featured as part of documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany, and the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Her latest solo exhibitions include the 2015 Bank (Shanghai, China), KOW gallery (Berlin, Germany), Tensta Konsthall (Spånga, Sweden), Too Much World in the Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane, Australia), Artists Space (New York City), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain), Concentrations 59: Mirror Stage (Dallas, TX), and the Museum of Art (Dallas, TX).

This February, MOCA in Los Angeles will present the U.S. premiere of Steyerl’s landmark video installation Factory of the Sun. In this immersive work, which debuted at the 2015 German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Steyerl probes the pleasures and perils of image circulation in a moment defined by the unprecedented global flow of data. Ricocheting between genres—news reportage, documentary film, video games, and internet dance videos—Factory of the Sun uses the motifs of light and acceleration to explore what possibilities are still available for collective resistance when surveillance has become a mundane part of an increasingly virtual world. This video work tells the surreal story of workers whose forced moves in a motion capture studio are turned into artificial sunshine.

‘Steyerl’s films and essays take the digital image as a point of departure for entering a world in which a politics of dazzle manifests as collective desire. This is to say that when war, genocide, capital flows, digital detritus, and class warfare always take place partially within images, we are no longer dealing with the virtual but with a confusing and possibly alien concreteness that we are only beginning to understand. Today the image world, Steyerl reminds us, is far from flat. And paradoxically it may be in its most trashy and hollowed out spots that we can locate its ethics. Because this is where forms run free and the altogether unseen and unrecognised toy with political projects at the speed of light. It is where spectacle and poverty merge, then split, then dance.’ – Brian Kuan Wood

For a primer on Hito’s work, visit:

You can see a video of her work below!

Co-sponsored by the Cultural Forms in Global Circulation Working Group, the Institute for International Studies, and the Department of German.


Berkeley’s Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium is an internationally recognized forum for presenting new ideas that challenge conventional wisdom about art, technology, and culture. This series, free of charge and open to the public, presents artists, writers, curators, and scholars who consider contemporary issues at the intersection of aesthetic expression, emerging technologies, and cultural history, from a critical perspective.

All lectures will take place at the Banatao Auditorium in 310 Sutardja Dai Hall from 7:30-9:00pm. NOTE TIME CHANGE FOR HITO STEYERL’S LECTURE, WHICH TAKES PLACE AT 12 NOON Visit the ATC Colloquium’s home page at for tickets, directions, a list of speakers, and to join the mailing list.

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