March 19, 2014 - Van Abbemuseum - Hito Steyerl
March 19, 2014

Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl, How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .Mov File (still), 2013. Single screen 1080p .mov file, 14 minutes. Collection Van Abbemuseum, donation Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Stichting Promotors Van Abbemuseum.

Hito Steyerl
12 April–22 June 2014

Opening: Saturday 12 April, 3pm

Van Abbemuseum
Bilderdijklaan 10
The Netherlands

T +31 (0) 40 238 1000
info [​at​]

From 12 April, the first mid-career museum retrospective of the artist, writer and filmmaker Hito Steyerl (b. 1966, München) will be on view in ten rooms of the Van Abbemuseum’s old building. This comprehensive exhibition will include ten works from the past decade alongside three new pieces, namely Liquidity Inc. (2014), Shunga (2014) and Surveillance: Disappearance (2013). The exhibition will open on Saturday 12 April with a new lecture by Hito Steyerl called “35 Ways To Break Through A Wall.”

Steyerl is considered to be one of the most exciting artistic voices today, who speculates on the impact of the internet and digitisation on the fabric of our everyday lives. She offers an astute and often humorous analysis of the dizzying speed with which images and all kinds of information are reconfigured, altered and dispersed, and then over again, accelerating into infinity or crashing and falling apart. In her filmic works and elaborate installations Steyerl implements the methods and means of the digital world to her will, deftly deploying montage adapting and riffing off a plethora of digital images suggesting new ways in which to intervene and engage. Steyerl as a filmmaker is very much aware of the increasingly difficult status of the documentary as genre and practice in the digital age, not quite fitting between cinema and television on one side, and an art space, museum or gallery on the other side.

In a recent essay Steyerl focuses on the term circulationism as way of understanding the contemporary potential of art and the image. She suggests: “What the Soviet avant-garde of the twentieth century called productivism—the claim that art should enter production and the factory—could now be replaced by circulationism. Circulationism is not about the art of making an image, but of post-producing, launching, and accelerating it. It is about the public relations of images across social networks, about advertisement and alienation, and about being as suavely vacuous as possible.”

Steyerl wonders what happens when the effects of digitisation slip off the screen and enter into the material world. What happens to our thought patterns, our language and our behaviour? Or even the weather, for that matter? In her opinion we have long since entered into a new paradigm—a space of no return—a free-flowing system of ‘circulation’ that circumscribes and influences everything from the government to love. Steyerl delves into these new conditions of circulationism and attempts to understand and reflect on its potential and impasses. Crucially, she remarks that circulationism, if reinvented, could also be about short-circuiting existing networks, circumventing and bypassing fixed regimes of power and money.

Public event: Circulationism I
On 24 May the Van Abbemuseum and Hito Steyerl will host a series of discussions on the expanded theme of Circulationism. 

Publication and travel
Too Much World, a collection of essays co-published by Sternberg Press, Van Abbemuseum and Institute of Modern Art Brisbane will accompany the exhibition. It will include texts by Hito Steyerl, Sven Lütticken, Pablo Lafuente, Thomas Elsaesser, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Karen Archey, Nick Aikens and David Riff. Too Much World is edited by Nick Aikens and designed by Bardhi Haliti.

Following its presentation at the Van Abbemuseum the exhibition will travel to the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane and other venues. 

Annie Fletcher

Exhibition design
Studio Markus Miessen

For more information on Hito Steyerl, you can visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

The exhibition Hito Steyerl is made possible with the support of with the support of Goethe-Institut Niederlande.

Hito Steyerl at Van Abbemuseum
Van Abbemuseum
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