The Science Museum premieres HEXEN 2.0, a major new exhibition by British artist Suzanne Treister, as part of its contemporary arts programme.
In a complex body of gloriously detailed work, the exhibition charts the coming together of diverse scientific and social sciences in the framework of post-WWII U.S. governmental and military imperatives. It investigates the development of cybernetics, the history of the Internet, the rise of Web 2.0 and mass intelligence gathering and the interconnected histories of the counterculture, and explores the implications of new systems of societal manipulation and the development of a ‘control society’.
The exhibition brings together a group of large-scale, densely plotted ‘alchemical’ diagrams and photo-text works as well as a hand-coloured set of 78 re-imagined Tarot cards, along with a compelling film presenting a cybernetic séance.
Opening on 7th March 2012, HEXEN 2.0 is a free exhibition, running until 1 May 2012 –
Artist, Suzanne Treister, said, “I hope this work can bring to Science Museum audiences a deeper understanding of specific histories, theories and future hypotheticals of the sciences within a broader picture of science’s interrelationships with the cultural, the political, the military and the social. By representing these subjects and histories through the lens of the alchemical and the occult, HEXEN 2.0 offers a space where one may use the works as a tool to envision possible alternative futures.”
Head of Arts Projects, Hannah Redler, at the Science Museum said, “Treister’s elaborately constructed narratives examine a period of significant development in the recent history of technology. Demonstrating a keenly felt thirst to unpick truths and alternative theories, in ways which simultaneously retell hidden stories and appear to create extraordinary myths ‘HEXEN 2.0’ is a beautiful, compelling body of work which will captivate and amaze our visitors.”
Looking at real life events, HEXEN 2.0 specifically investigates the participants of the seminal Macy Conferences (1946-1953 NYC), whose primary goal was to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. The project simultaneously looks at diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to advances in technology including the claims of Anarcho-Primitivism and Post Leftism, Theodore Kaczynski/The Unabomber, Technogaianism and Transhumanism, and traces precursory ideas such as those of Thoreau, Warren, Heidegger and Adorno in relation to visions of utopic and dystopic futures from science-fiction literature and film.
The exhibition will occupy the Bridge gallery of the Science Museum for eight weeks only. The project also includes a dedicated website (http://ensemble.va.com.au/Treister/HEXEN2/HEXEN_2.html) and a book, published by Black Dog Publishing. An essay by the art historian and writer Lars Bang Larsen has also been commissioned to accompany the exhibition.
Lars Bang Larsen, said, “Treister’s HEXEN 2.0 project is a unique critical overview of modern intellectual and scientific history”.
HEXEN 2.0/Literature is being exhibited simultaneously at Black Dog Publishing’s affiliate gallery, WORK from 16th March 2012.
Suzanne Treister studied at St Martin's School of Art, London (1978-1981) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-1982) and is based in London.
Primarily a painter through the 1980s, Treister was a pioneer in the digital/new media/web based field from the beginning of the 1990s. Her practice engages with eccentric narratives and unconventional bodies of research, to reveal structures that bind power, identity and knowledge.
Suzanne Treister has exhibited recently at: Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany; D21 Kunstraum, Leipzig, Germany; P.P.O.W, New York, USA; Le Plateau Art Center, FRAC Paris, Ile de France; Museum of Contemporary Art Bordeaux (CAPC), France; Temporary Kunsthalle, Berlin, Germany; Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; Center for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland and Shedhalle, Zurich, Switzerland.
HEXEN 2.0 is funded by the Arts Council of England.
For further information please contact, Science Museum Press Office – Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7942 4328.
Notes to Editors
HEXEN 2.0 is the sequel to Treister’s acclaimed HEXEN 2039. HEXEN 2039, premiering in 2006, was an exhibition of works through which the artist imagined new technologies for psychological warfare through her investigation of links between the occult and the military, in relation to histories of witchcraft, the US film industry, British Intelligence agencies, Soviet brainwashing and behaviour control experiments of the U.S. Army. www.hexen2039.net/
Science Museum Visitor Information:
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk / 0870 870 4868
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HEXEN 2.0/Literature at WORK, London
From March 16 – May 12 Black Dog Publishing’s affiliate gallery, WORK will exhibit HEXEN 2.0/Literature.
WORK, 10a Acton Street, London, WC1X 9NG. URL: www.workgallery.co.uk
Opening hours: 12–5.30pm, Wednesday–Saturday (excluding public holidays)
For further details please contact Kate Trant or Marianne Templeton: email@example.com
HEXEN 2.0 Publication and Tarot Deck by Black Dog Publishing, London
A 160 page full colour book illustrating the works comprising HEXEN 2.0 with an essay by Lars Bang Larsen, and a separately available working Tarot Deck are published by Black Dog Publishing, London. http://www.blackdogonline.com
Science Museum Contemporary Art
Science Museum’s contemporary art programme explores artists’ perspectives in the past, present and future of science and technology, creating new opportunities for encountering art.
Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk