In How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, a 2013 video art piece by Hito Steyerl, an automated voice instructs viewers how to avoid the camera’s lens at the same time that viewers are watching the modes of disappearance captured by a camera’s lens. Typical of Steyerl, the piece is jarring, funny, and very unsettling. Twenty-two of her works—from early 1990s documentaries to recent video installations (such as How Not To Be Seen)—are on view at the Stedelijk. A theorist and cultural critic, Steyerl has written that, “Real life is much stranger than any fiction one could imagine. So somehow the forms of reporting have to become crazier and stranger … Otherwise they are not going to be ‘documentary’ enough.” The evolution of her film style over three decades reveals an increasingly crazy “real life” to document. —J.D.
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