bitflips and battlefields

hito_battlefield [image] Hito Steyerl, Is a Museum a Battlefield? was shown at the Adam Art Gallery Wellington - 4th July to the 10 August. http://www.adamartgallery.org.nz

If you have never considered a museum as a battlefield, consider again. In Hito Steyerl's lecture/video installation/performance Is the Museum a Battlefield, she gives a convincing presentation that might make you consider otherwise. Her ‘work’ traces the debris from a battlefield in the mountainous areas south of the city of Van, Turkey where the Kurdistan PKK has been fighting for independence from Turkey. Some of the items collected includes the ‘invisible’ shell casings of a 20mm Gatling gun made by General Dynamics.

Steyerl goes on to retrace the origins of these shells back to their manufactures which implicates various corporate and industrial giants in a technological ‘bit-flip’ linking them to the biggest museums in the world through architecture, software, the 'gentrification of culture' and the corporatisation and sponsorship of art institutions by some of largest weapons manufactures in the world.

Steyerl’s uses the term ‘bit-flip’ to describe the dual use of technology, where it can be both culturally and scientifically important but at the same time can act as the collaborator to humankinds atrocities. This usage resonated with my views on the ‘new and disparate interactions’ which we are enacting through our mobile devices. Technically, ‘bit-flip’ is not a word but it suggests a manipulation of sorts where a 0 becomes a 1, an off an on and vice-versa. For me, it conjures up images of multiplicities where intent is polyvalent, where technologies ‘flip back’ on themselves, masking one of their binate ambitions.

The following video is an edited version.

[vimeo 76011774 w=700 h=393]

Documentation of Hito Steyerl's lecture "Is the Museum a Battlefield", first shown at 13th Istanbul Biennial. Steyerl’s new lecture, pro­duced for the 13th Istanbul Biennial, takes as its departure point her March 2013 talk ‘I Dreamed a Dream: Politics in the Age of Mass Art Production’ and focuses on the arms industry, a phenomenon constantly re-conceptualized by the media through the regular flow of images. It asks the question of how a museum and a battlefield could be related. The question emerges when Steyerl follows the trace of an empty bullet casing which she found in the area where the mass grave of Andrea Wolf and her friends were located in Van, Turkey.

Jim Campbell comes to Auckland

peripherial_rythym In October this year the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki will present the hugely successful exhibition entitled Light Show, bringing some of the most respect international light artist working today to New Zealand. Of special interest to me is the inclusion of Jim Campell. I have been following his work for several years now and he is one of those artist who has inspired me to push my work into new territories.

His works straddle the cusp of art and technology, comprehension and emotion. After the suicide of his brother, who had struggled with schizophrenia for years, Campbell produced Letter to a suicide in 1985, a 30 minute video of Campbell and his parents addressing his brother a year after his death. That video would be his first and last and since then he has been investigating human emotional states, perception and memory through the abstraction of light and the diffusion of pixels into a 'low definition' unit which express themslves through light, grids, objects, motion and metaphors.


In 2012, Jim was presented with the 13th Annual Bay Area Treasure Award by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In celebration of this honor, SFMOMA created [this] short film Jim Campbell: Transmitted in Light about his practice.

Retrieved from: http://www.jimcampbell.tv/news/

Cover image: Grand Central Station 2 –2009