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Questionnaire: Hito Steyerl

Q. If you could live with only one piece of art, what would it be? A. Why should I live with an art work?

USAF 1951 Resolving Power Test Target, 1951. Courtesy: Hito Steyerl and Leon Kahane

USAF 1951 Resolving Power Test Target, 1951. Courtesy: Hito Steyerl and Leon Kahane

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

Handsworth Songs (1987) by Black Audio Film Collective.

What image keeps you company in the space where you work?

A large photographic print of the 1951 US Air Force Resolving Power Test Target, which I first learned about through the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Los Angeles.

What is your favourite title of an art work?

My favourite hashtag is #Redhack.

What film has most influenced you?

Any film by Laura Poitras.

What are you reading?

The Gun (2010) by C.J. Chivers, a political history of the AK-47.

What music are you listening to?

The soundtrack of my next video, which includes songs by Arthur Russell, Grandmaster Flash and the lovely ‘Bruce Lee Remix – Be Water My Friend’ by user ‘Melody sheep’ on YouTube. I stopped listening to Pet Shop Boys after getting harassed for months by a gang of lawyers for an alleged illegal download. That was it. We’re over.

What do you like the look of?

The amplituhedron, a geometrical model in infinite-dimensional space used to calculate particle interaction probabilities.

What should change?

The list is too long to fit into this space.

What should stay the same?

Free education, wherever it exists.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

I’d scramble to do exactly what I am doing now.

What do you wish you knew?

Code.

What is art for?

Ideally, to be accessed for free.

Hito Steyerl is an artist living in Berlin and a professor of New Media at the city’s Universität der Künste. Steyerl participated in ‘Seeing is Believing’ at Kunst-Werke Berlin and ‘The Global Contemporary. Artworlds After 1989’ at Zentrum für Kunst- und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, which continues until February 2012. A compilation of her essays Wretched of the Screen is forthcoming.

Issue 159

First published in Issue 159

Nov - Dec 2013
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