The List Visual Arts Center will present the first solo exhibition in over a decade of Steina, the pathbreaking media artist whose work traverses video, music, and technology through a commitment to spontaneity and play.
Steina’s nearly five decades of video work queries the possibilities of sound-image exchange, machine vision, and electronic abstraction. She has persistently sought to generate images that exceed the human eye and decenter human subjectivity. Venturing in nature and combining imaging technologies with reflective orbs, she creates work that reorients viewers in relation to both natural and electronic space. Her videos and installations emerge from the endless process of playing with and manipulating signals rather than a results-oriented commitment to image or narrative.
This exhibition will trace Steina’s creative practice from early collaborative works with Woody Vasulka to her independent explorations of optics, machine vision, and a liberated, non-anthropocentric subjectivity. It follows her practice from downtown New York and Buffalo to the vast landscapes of New Mexico and Iceland, pictured in the immersive, multichannel video installations she created in the 1990s and 2000s. Containing more than a dozen single-channel works, as well as several multi-monitor matrices and large-scale multi-screen installation environments, this focused retrospective will survey the breadth of Steina’s work and vision from 1970 to the present. The show seeks to both bring renewed recognition to the artist’s innovative vision and argue for her influence and relevance today as a younger generation of artists consider modes of art-making that resist easy commodification and question the place of technology and the human in relation to larger ecological and planetary concerns.