Duty Free Art

Duty Free Art:Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War

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In Duty Free Art, filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl wonders how we can appreciate, or even make art, in the present age. What can we do when arms manufacturers sponsor museums, and some of the world's most valuable artworks are used as a fictional currency in a global futures market that has nothing to do with the work itself? Can we distinguish between creativity and the digital white noise that bombards our everyday lives? Exploring artefacts as diverse as video games, Wikileaks files, the proliferation of spam, and political actions, she exposes the paradoxes within globalization, political economies, visual culture, and the status of art production.

Reviews

  • Steyerl's art is extremely rich, dense and rewarding. . .With Steyerl, you can't always tell fact from fabulation, where the jokes end and seriousness begins, what is truth and what is a lie. A pleasure in art can unhinge us in everyday life, where we are undone by falsehoods at every turn.

    Adrian SearleGuardian
  • Faced with a world lacking the stable ground necessary to base proper metaphysical claims or foundational political myths, one populated by questionable images, institutions and identities, Steyerl’s practice – her example – retains a clear message: agency is still possible; one can still act, if only to needle and pick at representations in order to expose the conditions of manipulation, exploitation and affect underlying their appearance.

    Art Review
  • [Steyerl] gleefully surfs everything from military 3-D imaging and printing to big data and corporate surveillance to computer gaming, finding in disparate events and phenomena the fingerprints of a neoliberal media order in which the old modernist notion of autonomy now refers to machines that communicate in codes.

    Saul AntonArtforum