Hito Steyerl’s work is the art equivalent checking your inbox, only to find yourself three hours later watching a gif loop of a cat on a slide and wondering how the hell you got there. Some call this type of art, which swings between (old and new) media, sees no barriers in terms of source material or end result and mirrors the way we glide between the real and virtual worlds, ‘post-internet art’ – a reference also to a generation of young artists who have grown up freely availing themselves of endless imagery. Born in 1966, Steyerl isn’t of that generation but, with their agile associations, the Berlin-based artist's films are about as ‘now’ as you could wish to find.
‘How Not To Be Seen. A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File’ is a brilliantly angry, mock-instructional video that gives advice about becoming invisible (wear an invisibility cloak, live in a gated community, be a woman over 50) while turning humans into dancing pixels as images of decommissioned resolution targets, used by air forces until technology rendered them obsolete, flash up on screen.
The newest work in this mini survey, ‘Liquidity Inc’, takes centre stage, and deservedly so. It’s a tour de force that leads you from cloud formations to the fallout from the 2008 stock market crash, via Tumblr Hokusais and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, while telling the tale of a financial advisor who became a cage fighter. It’s also a piss-taking barrage of rolling non-news and useless weather reports that wants to shake you out of your consumer passivity and bad browsing habits. The forecast: ‘you might be insane.’ Truly an art for our times.