New Borderlands – Reading Group


New Borderlands, reading group at Tensta konsthall 2016. Photo Emily Fahlén

In her numerous writings, Hito Steyerl has drawn her readers’ attention to questions about aesthetics and communication in a globalized, digitized, and inter-connected world. She has suggested numerous perspectives on what relations and communications in a network society actually look like, elaborating on terms such as sociability, quality, exclusiveness, and authority. What does it mean when the clear and distinct limits between producers and consumers are blurred?

Interpersonal communications today relate to the incalculable network (email, social media, and file and server systems), and thereby recreate ideas of what a place is and how experiences are defined, a recreation also made by Steyerl. She repeatedly writes about migration, the nation state’s reduced role, and other processes of globalization and puts them in relation to how virtual worlds are constructed.

The aim of the reading group New Borderlands, arranged in conjunction with the video installation Liquidity Inc. by Hito Steyerl at Tensta konsthall in 2016, was to reach a possible criticism of the far-reaching utopian ideas about volatility, rhizome, and uncontrollable networks (consisting of both people and information) and to ask the question: where, in this mess, does power burrow?

The readings included:

  • Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, The University of Chicago Press, 1996
  • Hito Steyerl, “In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective” and “Is a Museum a Factory” in The Wretched of the Screen, 2012
  • Hito Steyerl, “Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead” in Too Much World – The Films of Hito Steyerl, 2014
  • Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands, 1987
  • Wendy Brown: “Waning Sovereignty, Walled Democracy” in Walled states, Waning Sovereignty, 2001
  • David Harvey: “Space as a Key Word” in Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development, 2006
  • Teju Cole, Every Day is For the Thief, 2014