Hito Steyerl (b. 1966 in Munich, Germany) is a Berlin-based filmmaker, visual artist, writer, and innovator of the essay documentary. Her prolific filmmaking and writing occupies a highly discursive position between the fields of art, philosophy, and politics, constituting a deep exploration of late capitalism’s social, cultural, and financial imaginaries. Resulting from a personal lens of documentary film, her work has developed in the form of immersive videos and multimedia installations, combined with a spirit of research and experimentation. Although Steyerl uses the latest technologies, it is in order to question their power to influence the public and her capacity to refashion them in a subterranean manner that passes for "real.” Her films and lectures have increasingly addressed the presentational context of art, while her writing has circulated widely in both academic and art journals. She studied documentary film directing at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image and the University of Television and Film in Munich. She subsequently studied philosophy at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where she received her doctorate. Steyerl is a professor for experimental film and video at the Berlin University of the Arts, where she founded the Research Center for Proxy Politics together with Vera Tollmann and Boaz Levin.
Her work has been the subject of several monographic exhibitions and has been included in many international events at prominent global art institutions. Recent exhibitions include K21, Düsseldorf, and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020–21); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Park Avenue Armory, New York, and Serpentine Galleries, London (2019); May You Live In Interesting Times, 58th Venice Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Kunstmuseum Basel, and Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2018); The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2017); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016); and the German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015), among numerous others. A selection of her essays, published in various places, are summarized in four books: Die Farbe der Wahrheit (Vienna: Turia Kant, 2008), The Wretched of the Screen (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2012), Beyond Representation (Berlin: Walther König, 2016), and Duty Free Art – Art in the Age of Planetary Civil Wars (London: Verso, 2017/Zurich: Diaphanes, 2018).
This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
View the Hito Steyerl SAIC Flaxman Library Resource Guide for additional information about the artist.