Suzanne Treister

Read about the artwork

From ARPANET to DARWARS via the Internet

From National Socialism via Cybernetics and the Macy Conferences to Neo-Totalitarianism

Ace of Swords - CyberWar | King of Chalices - Stafford Beer

King of Pentacles - Economic Cybernetics | Nine of Swords - The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

XVII The Star - Quantum Computing - AI | Eight of Chalices - Lewis Mumford

Five of Pentacles - Internet Governance | XIV Temperance - ARPANET

Suzanne Treister - HEXEN 2.0

  • 7 March - 1 May 2012
  • Artworks created 2009-2011
  • Location: The Bridge, ground floor mezzanine

HEXEN 2.0 is a project by British artist Suzanne Treister. HEXEN 2.0 charts the coming together of diverse physical and social sciences in the framework of post-Second-World-War US 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' alongside historical and current responses to advances in technology.

Between 1946 and 1953 the seminal 'Macy Conferences' were held in New York. Planned as an experiment in multidisciplinary science, and considered to be a significant response to a post-Second-World-War world where human values, capabilities and moral impetuses were necessarily under question, the meetings involved the leading mathematicians, engineers, psychologists and social scientists of the day. These thinkers shared the primary goal ‘to outline a general science of the workings of the human mind'.

HEXEN 2.0 investigates some of the extraordinary intentions and outcomes of these meetings, in particular the development of cybernetics, and looks at their far-reaching influence. Treister's body of work presents a unique critical overview of modern intellectual and scientific history. Key to her artistic strategy is her decision to represent her visions of past interrelated histories by employing alternative systems for divining meaning or creating knowledge: alchemical drawings, tarot cards, gematria and the seance. She writes, '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.'

All works courtesy of the artist and Annely Juda Fine Art, London.

The drawing series, 'HEXEN 2.0/Literature', provides a selected bibliography relating to HEXEN 2.0

Please follow this link for the definitions of Cybernetics from the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC)

From 16 March to 12 May 2012, Black Dog Publishing’s affiliate gallery, WORK, will exhibit HEXEN 2.0/Literature. WORK, 10a Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG www.workgallery.co.uk Opening hours: 12.00-17.30, Wednesday - Saturday (excluding public holidays). For further details please contact Kate Trant or Marianne Templeton: info@workgallery.co.uk

A 160-page full-colour book illustrating the works comprising HEXEN 2.0, including an essay by Lars Bang Larsen, and a separately available working tarot deck are published by Black Dog Publishing, London. www.blackdogonline.com

HEXEN 2.0 is the sequel to Treister’s acclaimed HEXEN 2039. Treister’s HEXEN 2039, premiering in 2006, was an exhibition of works in which the artist imagined new technologies for psychological warfare through her own 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 US Army. www.hexen2039.net

  • Arts Council England - Lottery Funded
  • HEXEN 2.0 is funded by Arts Coucil England, with thanks to the Guido Charitable Trust.

About the artist

Suzanne Treister studied at St Martin’s School of Art, London (1978-81) and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1981-82), and is based in London.

Treister works across media and is recognised as an early pioneer in new media art, as much for her critical engagement with ideas generated by new forms as for her uses of diverse media. Her practice engages with unconventional bodies of research, to reveal structures that bind power, identity and knowledge.

Back to images