Duty Free Art. Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War

Hito Steyerl

Duty Free Art. Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War

The collection of texts entitled Duty Free Art. Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War offers its Czech readership a compact introduction to the thought of the important German artist, documentary filmmaker and intellectual Hito Steyerl. As the book’s editor Zbyněk Baladrán writes, it is an introduction to our lived reality that helps us to better orient ourselves in it, and to understand and give a name to the situation in which we find ourselves. Steyerl’s critical reflections both emerge from and are projected into the sphere of visual art. By revealing the conditions under which art operates at present – the abundance of unpaid “voluntary” work, tax evasion, money laundering and deregulated financial markets – she grants us a view of the autonomous world of art. As an accessible tool for students and workers across generations and disciplines, the book is inspiring, yet at the same time, by focusing on the problematic levels not only of culture, but of society as a whole, it arouses considerable concern, if not scepticism. The individual chapters comprise texts written on various occasions, some as lectures delivered at many different conference venues, e.g. Tate Modern in London, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Akademie der Künste der Welt in Cologne, Artists Space in New York and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Some of the texts appeared in the journals October and e-flux. Steyerl’s embeddedness in the art world is also evident in her writing style, which is interdisciplinary and full of associations, neologisms, metaphors, deep insights and detailed analyses.

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