Installation view of Hell Yeah Fuck We Die, 2016
From writing to producing films and installations, Hito Steyerl addresses issues concerning art, philosophy and politics. The artist makes film essays, a genre that reinforces a practice in which texts, conferences and image production border on theoretical and artistic practices. Steyerl deals with the arena of confrontation between art and politics in a world that is overpopulated with images. The video installation Hell Yeah Fuck We Die (2016), commissioned for the 32nd Bienal, resembles a parkour training module – a sport dedicated to overcoming obstacles – and features synchronized videos, whose images were collected from various online sources. In these videos, robots are provoked and scourged in different ways in product quality-testing environments. Based on the five most common words used in English-language song titles from the current decade (hell, yeah, we, fuck and die), Steyerl draws attention to a kind of anthem for our time, accompanied by a soundtrack, composed by German DJ Kassem Mosse using these words. Steyerl’s works comment on the constant search for speed and efficiency that governs contemporary life practices, revealing a sense of reality that is absurd, articulated by the tension created in the confrontation between images and texts.