Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, Videostill, 2015 © Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun

"This is not a game"

The video installation Factory of the Sun was one of the most discussed works at last Biennale in Venice. In Artforum and in other specialist articles, the work was chosen as one of the most important discoveries of the previous year. "Factory of the Sun" is an 'interpassive computer game' that settles accounts with the myth of the Internet, which would have individuals believe that they are participating, while actually turning them into puppets. Switching between different levels of reality, Steyerl’s video puts the battle for the Internet in the spotlight; the onward march of marketization comes face to face with the old utopia of the Internet as a place of freedom. The title of the work, "Factory of the Sun", is derived from the new material substance of our images, which, like all digital information, are reduced to pulses of light and circulate via the Internet’s new fibre-optic cables.

Hito Steyerl's video installation was elaborately staged in the main building of the German Pavilion 2015 as a spatial installation. A raster grid composed of blue light strips transformed the space into a motion capture studio, a recording location in which human movement is converted into data as a basis for every computer game. The key essentials of this installation will go on tour: the large inclined screen, the blue luminescent grid on the floor, and the deckchairs.

Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, Videostill, 2015 © Hito Steyerl
Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, Videostill, 2015 © Hito Steyerl
Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, Videostill, 2015 © Hito Steyerl
Hito Steyerl; photo © Thomas Meyer, Ostkreuz

Hito Steyerl, born 1966, lives and works as an artist, film-maker, and author in Berlin. 'Hito Steyerl’s films and essays take the digital image as a point of departure for entering a world in which a politics of dazzle manifests as collective desire. This is to say that when war, genocide, capital flows, digital detritus, and class warfare always take place partially within images, we are no longer dealing with the virtual but with a confusing and possibly alien concreteness that we are only beginning to understand. Today the image world, Steyerl reminds us, is far from flat. And paradoxically it may be in its most trashy and hollowed out spots that we can locate its ethics. Because this is where forms run free and the altogether unseen and unrecognized toy with political projects at the speed of light. It is where spectacle and poverty merge, then split, then dance' (Brian Kuan Wood).
Steyerl’s works have been shown around the world in numerous exhibitions and at a range of film festivals, most recently in the Artists Space, New York (2015), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London (2014), the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014), the Art Institute of Chicago (2013), and the Biennale di Venezia (2013). In 2007, she took part in documenta 12.