Artist and critic Hito Steyerl's video works explore how images are produced, circulated, and shared. The artist has referred to images as a "condensation of social forces," suggesting that through them we can trace the underlying systems of the contemporary world.
In this satirical take on instructional films, Steyerl demonstrates several tongue-in-cheek strategies for remaining "unseen" in a world subject to new, sophisticated means of surveillance—pointing to the ways in which our technologies encroach on physical experience. Much of the work was shot on a desert site riddled with photo calibration targets used by the military to hone the focus of airplane cameras. Acts of war are therefore mediated by digital tools; Steyerl drives this point home by superimposing a computer desktop onto the desert landscape, underscoring the links between economies of violence, communication, and entertainment. In her words, "How do people disappear in an age of total over-visibility? . . . Are people hidden by too many images? Do they go hide amongst other images? Do they become images?"
Gallery label from Cut to Swipe, October 11, 2014–March 22, 2015.