A playful and poignant parable of economic crisis and contemporary culture

Hito Steyerl (b. 1966, Munich, Germany) is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose art speaks urgently to our digitally mediated era. In her work, she has addressed the wide-ranging effects of today’s mass proliferation and dissemination of images, issues of surveillance and militarization, and the evolving functions of technology in our networked culture. Liquidity Inc. (2014) is a new acquisition to the ICA’s collection and is on view at the museum for the first time. As suggested by the title, this video sculpture uses water as its guiding theme, and has particular resonance at the ICA’s waterfront location. Liquidity Inc. takes as a point of departure the story of Jacob Wood, a former financial analyst who lost his job during the 2008 economic recession and decided to turn his hobby in mixed martial arts into a career. Steyerl follows actor and martial artist Bruce Lee’s dictum to “be shapeless, formless, like water,” turning “liquidity” into a trope fluid enough to speak about everything from the weather to water as material resource, to the circulation of information and assets. Projected onto a double-sided screen in front of a wave-like ramp structure, Liquidity Inc. is a captivating parable of economic crisis and contemporary culture that is by turns playful and poignant.

Hito Steyerl: Liquidity Inc. is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, on view February 7 – May 28, 2018.

Organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.