“On the face of it, Steyerl’s HOW NOT TO BE SEEN: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File (2013), which MoMA acquired earlier this year, is what its title purports it to be: a sly parody of an instructional video (the first part of the title borrowed from a Monty Python sketch). Each of the work’s four sections outlines some tongue-in-cheek strategies to avoid being seen—from hiding in plain sight, to shrinking down to a unit smaller than a pixel, to living in a gated community, to being female and over 50 years old. A seemingly automated male voice reads out the instructions in a droll English accent, and Steyerl herself, along with several faceless figures (the kind you’d see in a simulated architectural model), demonstrate the proposed methods. Many of them, like to shrink, to swipe, and to take a picture, are accompanied by gestures familiar from the iPhone—pointing to the fact that the bodies in question here exist in (and take their choreographic cues from) a world that’s at once virtual and material.” – Leora Morinis
Throughout her career, Adrian Piper has provocatively analyzed cultural biases and their impact on the individual, holding firmly to her conviction that art can operate as a catalyst for change. Cornered entangles viewers spatially and intellectually in the moral, social, and political complexities of racial determination. Positioned defensively in a corner behind an upturned table, the video features the artist speaking directly to viewers, informing them about the history of miscegenation in America and challenging people to honestly address their black ancestry.
Interview with Adrian Piper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyie3doKyUw