Today from our friends at Glasstire, we bring you Joshua Fischer’s assessment of two videos currently on view in Houston, Texas. Instead of comparing works in the same exhibition, Fischer reviews videos by the artists Hito Steyerl and Camille Henrot in two different shows and defines the likenesses between them. He notes, “Steyerl and Henrot may have different outlooks and approaches […] but luckily they share the same boldness to explore big, grandiose topics…” This article was originally published on August 8, 2014.
Two videos currently on view in Houston share unexpected affinities, tackling heavy, potentially dry subjects and distilling them into engaging works full of humor, poignancy, and energy. Hito Steyerl’s How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .Mov File (2013) and Camille Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue (2013) are part of very different group exhibitions at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art and the CAMH respectively. But it is not a surprise that the videos feel like kindred spirits, as they were both included in The Encyclopedic Palace exhibition at the 55thVenice Biennale, with Henrot’s Grosse Fatigue taking home the Silver Lion prize.
Rather than resorting to lo-fi tactics to show the guts of an image or its mechanisms, both are crisp, hi-definition videos with top-of-the-line production values. Yet in their own way Steyerl and Henrot layer and expose the internal machinery of how we produce and access visual knowledge: the green screen, computer monitor, and browser window.