The dissertation “Masks, Drones, Digital Control: On the Disappearance of Face and Body in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture” presents a comparative analysis of the representation of face and body in contemporary art and visual culture in response to a changing image and body politics after 9/11. The question the dissertation seeks to answer is how artists can raise awareness on new, questionable technologies like facial recognition softwares, Google Glasses and Google Earth or drones that try to reduce the human body to an algorithmic information. The answer, it seems, is to be found in artist’s works by Hito Steyerl, Trevor Paglen, Omer Fast and more that rupture the myth of a foolproof surveillance and war technology by developing critical documentary and visual activist practices as their own visual strategy. The dissertation analyzes both the process of digitization and the historical roots of photography and portaiture.
© Hito Steyerl, HOW NOT TO BE SEEN A Fucking Didactic Educational .mov File, 2013, still image, single screen 1080p .mov file, 14min. Copyright Hito Steyerl, courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam.
Research: Jana Haeckel
Supervision: Alexander Streitberger