Steyerl is an acute observer of our highly globalized and digitized society. Through an essayistic style that includes research, composite imagery, interviews, and first-person voice-over, Steyerl’s films and videos perform an uncanny reading of visual culture and contemporary image-making technologies. In her essay “In Defense of the Poor Image” (2009), Steyerl focuses on the circulation and mutability of images— how they are produced, translated, diffused, and consumed. In November, the artist investigates the role of images in revolution, chronicling the journey of Andrea Wolf, a friend who became involved in the Kurdish liberation movement in Turkey. The work weaves together documentary footage from Kurdish television, scenes from an amateur film made by the two friends as teens, clips from Bruce Lee movies, and Steyerl’s own narration. Addressing a number of themes—including gender in political uprisings and the aesthetics of protest—this piece set the tone for Steyerl’s subsequent work.
Gallery label from Scenes for a New Heritage: Contemporary Art from the Collection, March 8, 2015–April 11, 2016