If all pictures became current, in that they pass by and in doing so, are connectable with one another, whether elegantly or obscenely, through translation or association-how would it be possible to fasten down a picture? Hito Steyerl's light-hearted picture translations are about fastening things in an elegant-obscene way: In Tokyo she is looking for a photo series that she posed for in 1987 as a "rope bondage" model. While making inquiries with experts and authorities in the bondage arts, she found what she was looking for in a magazine archive. The cinematic tension is extremely high just now says the translator while Steyerl looks through photos of herself from her days as a film student. Something that fastens, but no biographical final revelation; instead, the discovered photographs fall into the slipstream of an informally networked archive of a life with bondage as conveyed by the media-in the sense that the master and slave games, as they're called, have become entirely normal.
Journal No. 1 - An Artist's Impression
What is an archive? What can it tell us? How do we approach it and make it work for us? Journal No. 1 takes its title from the first newsreel made in Bosnia in1947, which was lost during the war in the early 1990s. Starting out from that loss and the missing archive, the film develops reflections on how collective andpersonal memories and history take shape. This is a reflection on the image through images, on how they take hold. Hito Steyerl takes us on a journey through fiction films, film archives and unusual accounts as he questions the images bound up with them all. He explores the way they have been manipulated and graduallysteers us towards the history of the last few years. Journal No. 1 uses and experiments with different levels of representation - words, drawings, film.
In Free Fall
"In Free Fall" incorporates a trio of works: Before the Crash, After the Crash and Crash, which tell the story of the current global economic crisis through the example of an aeroplane junkyard in the Californian desert. The aeroplane junkyard reveals the anatomy of all sorts of crashes: both fictional and real. This is an investigation of planes as they are parked during the economic downturn, stored and recycled, revealing unexpected connections between economy, violence and spectacle. An example of this is the Boeing 4X-JYI, first acquired by film director Howard Hughes for TWA, which then flew for the Israeli Airforce before it was blown up for the Hollywood blockbuster, Speed. But the economic crisis doesn't stop short of affecting the film industry either. Through intertwined narratives of people, planes and places Steyerl reveals cycles of capitalism incorporating and adapting to the changing status of the commodity, but also points at a horizon beyond this endless repetition.