Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun
The National Gallery of Victoria presents the Australian premiere of the ground-breaking video installation Factory of the Sun by German-born artist Hito Steyerl, who was named the number one artist on ArtReview’s 2017 Power 100 list.
Factory of the Sun, 2015, first shown at the 2015 German Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, is a fully-immersive installation that tells the dystopian story of a group of workers in a labour camp. The participants are forced to perform choreographed dance routines and their movements are transformed into a valuable commodity: artificial sunshine.
Steyerl uses light as a metaphor for the agency of individuals as we are faced with the interlacing forces of digital information, economic interests and political power. Highlighting the global flow of data, the video samples a variety of moving image genres, including documentary films, video games, drone surveillance, advertising, news footage and YouTube dance videos.
Inspired by a quote from Donna Haraway (A Cyborg Manifesto, 1984), ‘Our machines are made of pure sunlight,’ Steyerl underscores the relationship between technology, speed and efficiency, and the ethical questions of contemporary digital life.
Acquired by the NGV in 2016, the work invites visitors to recline in sun lounges, surrounded by a digital grid-like pattern, reminiscent of Star Trek’s Holodeck, while the video is projected on a screen in the immersive environment.
Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV said, ‘Berlin-based Hito Steyerl is recognised as one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary artists working today and her practice has positioned her as a leading figure in the art world. Her work highlights the ethics, politics, economics and aesthetics of our current digital society and the NGV is proud to have acquired this important work.’