The Art Angle Podcast: Hito Steyerl on Why the Metaverse Has Already Failed

The German filmmaker's most recent exhibition, "Hito Steyerl: This is the Future," is on view at the Portland Museum of Art through June 18, 2023.

Hito Steyerl, artist, in the art collection K21. (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Hito Steyerl, artist, in the art collection K21. (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Given the manifold political, climate, and technological crises unfolding just two months into 2023, one wonders if that ominous future our species so fears is much closer than we anticipated. It is a tense and dramatic time, but it does further underscore the importance of the cultural figure Hito Steyerl.

The German filmmaker’s bold artworks investigate emerging technologies and media, and she often sites these inquiries within society and politics, globalization, and capitalism. Yet despite the complexity of the subject matter and her research-intensive process, Steyerl’s works are readily enthralling, often manifesting as highly ambitious, immersive architectural environments.

It is no small wonder that her work has reached a global stage. Last year, her largest-ever retrospective, called “I Will Survive,” wrapped its European tour at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. And just last month, her exhibition called “This is the Future” opened at the Portland Art Museum, where it is on view until mid-June. 

On this week’s episode, European editor Kate Brown spoke to Steyerl to tackle some of the questions about what artificial intelligence, the metaverse, crypto, and an increasingly imperiled natural world might mean for us.

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