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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-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’.
The exhibitionbrings 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 7 March 2012, HEXEN 2.0 is a free exhibition, running until 1 May 2012
Artist, Suzanne Treister, explains:
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 (1946–53 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 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.
HEXEN 2.0/Literature is being exhibited simultaneously at Black Dog Publishing’s affiliate gallery, WORK from 16 March 2012.