Thursday, November 28, 2019, 7 pm
Bild und Repräsentation im Werk von Hito Steyerl (Image and Representation in the Work of Hito Steyerl)

Panel discussion with Nora M. Alter (professor of film and media arts, Temple University, Philadelphia) and Klaus Theweleit (cultural theorist, Freiburg), moderated by Doreen Mende (curator and theorist, Harun Farocki Institute, Berlin/University of Art and Design, Geneva)

In her artistic works and theoretical writings, Steyerl reflects on our world in times of hypercapitalism, digital lifestyle, globalization, and increasing political crises. In her essay films and expansive video installations, Steyerl examines the politics of images, questions the power mechanisms inscribed in them, and sheds light on political conflicts, social change in our technologized society, and the ways in which our world functions. Her works hold a mirror to our digital culture, analyzing the visual culture and image politics of the internet, advertising, and design, as well as the changing status of humans as subjects in the technological age. Steyerl combines her investigation of visual mass culture with reflections on future developments and understands her artistic practice as a space where political action is possible, where hegemonies can be broken up, and where utopias can be formulated as models.

Nora M. Alter, Klaus Theweleit, and Doreen Mende will speak about the work of Hito Steyerl on the occasion of her solo exhibition at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. Based on the works presented at n.b.k. and their reference to algorithmic image production, consumer culture, and mechanisms of commodification, the discussion will reflect upon contemporary image production and the change in conditions under which it takes place. It will focus on the role of the image as an instrument of control and violence, its operational potential, and its significance with regard to today’s gestures of representation.

In German and English.


Nora M. Alter is a scholar of comparative film and media arts and a professor at the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts at Temple University, Philadelphia. She has published widely on German and European studies, film and media studies, cultural and visual studies, and contemporary art. She is author of several books, including Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (1996), Sound Matters (2004), Chris Marker (2006), and most recently, The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction (2018).

Klaus Theweleit lives in Freiburg and is a literary scholar, cultural theorist, and writer. Until 2008 he was a professor of art and theory at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe. In 1976 he earned his doctorate with the dissertation Freikorpsliteratur: Vom deutschen Nachkrieg 1918–1923, which served as the basis for his two-volume work, Männerphantasien, published in 1977/1978, one of the first comprehensive investigations of masculinity and violence. In November 2019, a new edition of Männerphantasien will be published by Matthes & Seitz, complemented by an extensive epilogue by Theweleit in which he contextualizes the book’s analyses in terms of the current return of fascist positions and challenges to the right to free sexual orientation.

Doreen Mende, a curator, researcher, and theorist, is professor of Curatorial Politics and director of the CCC Research Master and PhD Forum at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD). In 2015, she founded the Harun Farocki Institute in Berlin with Tom Holert and Volker Pantenburg. Her projects include “Hamhŭngs Zwei Waisen (Für Konrad Püschel)” (2018/2019) in the context of bauhaus imaginista in Moscow, Berlin, and Bern; Navigation Beyond Vision (2019) with the Harun Farocki Institute and e-flux journal at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; “The Undutiful Daughter’s Concept of Archival Metabolism” (2018) for e-flux journal; and The Navigation Principle (2017) at the Dutch Art Institute. Her work has also been published, among others, by Sternberg Press and in the Oxford Handbook for Communist Visual Cultures (2019). Mende is the initiator of the research project Decolonizing Socialism, Entangled Internationalism, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2019–2023), and co-founder of the European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP), a collaborative research network. She lives in Berlin and works in Geneva.