Hito Steyerl. The City of Broken Windows

Upcoming

Hito Steyerl. The City of Broken Windows

15/06 — 15/10/2023

Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Filmstill), 2018, © Künstlerin / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und 
Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Filmstill), 2018, © Künstlerin / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, photo: Leon Kahane, Courtesy the artist
Hito Steyerl, photo: Leon Kahane, Courtesy the artist
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Filmstill), 2018, © Künstlerin / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und 
Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Filmstill), 2018, © Künstlerin / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Ausstellungsansicht Castello di Rivoli/Turin), 2018-19, Foto: Antonio Maniscalco, © Künstlerin/VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Ausstellungsansicht Castello di Rivoli/Turin), 2018-19, Foto: Antonio Maniscalco, © Künstlerin/VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Ausstellungsansicht Castello di Rivoli/Turin), 2018-19, Foto: Antonio Maniscalco, © Künstlerin/VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
Hito Steyerl, The City of Broken Windows (Ausstellungsansicht Castello di Rivoli/Turin), 2018-19, Foto: Antonio Maniscalco, © Künstlerin/VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023, Courtesy Künstlerin, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York und Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

In her works, artist Hito Steyerl (*1966, Munich, Germany) often focuses on political as well as social conflicts in a globalised world and entangles them with local situations, which gives her works a special multidimensionality.

This also applies to The City of Broken Windows, an installation Steyerl originally conceived for her exhibition in Turin (Castello di Rivoli, 2019). Short videos with a documentary character run on opposite monitors, each presenting different perspectives on window panes.

On the one hand, it is about the visual and psychological impression that missing or destroyed windows evoke. According to the so-called "Broken Glass Theory", the more signs of neglect and destruction a house or street shows, the more rapidly it deteriorates. An artist in Camden, New Jersey (USA) is presented who is working with local activists to close broken windows in buildings by using wooden "replacement windows" to break the spiralling movement of the Broken Glass Theory.

On a monitor opposite, windows in a laboratory-like sterile hall are deliberately smashed to produce the peculiar shattering sound of window glass. This trains an artificial intelligence that can recognise the shattering of glass by the corresponding sound and report it accordingly. So here, a technical device is trying to react to the "Broken Glass Theory".

In our cities, we live separated from the outside, vertically on top of each other, in safety, at a distance - behind glass - and can thus indulge in the illusion of an intact, modern and civilised world. Where this intactness, where the Western gaze and where our supposed standards become fragile, where they are threatened with decay, sterile regularity and technology are called into action. The AI learns to sound the alarm when glass breaks - the authorities are called in.

On another, textual level of meaning, Hito Steyerl addresses the sound of shattering glass as an act of violence, as it also occurs in order to gain energy. Destruction occurs, glass is broken, in order to gain access to the earth's resources. Finally, The City of Broken Windows refers to the location, the glass-enclosed area of the museum, where one can speak of a sedimentation of broken windows: the area around the Brühl was one of the most densely built-up areas in Leipzig. In 1943, these rows of houses were destroyed in an air raid, followed by demolition and post-war development and finally, from 1968, the redesign as Sachsenplatz, which in turn had to give way to today's cityscape and thus to the new building of the MdbK with its glass façades, so that the history of the site is marked by glass and broken glass.

Opening: 14.06., 6 pm

Hito Steyerl, photo: Leon Kahane, Courtesy the artist
Hito Steyerl, photo: Leon Kahane, Courtesy the artist