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Museum für Fotografie: SEEN BY #19: Hyperstition | 06.05.-18.06.2023

Editors’ Choice

The exhibition at Berlins Museum für Fotografie explores the experimental philosophical concept of hyperstition and makes it the starting point for new artistic works by young artists on speculative themes in photography and video.

Image above: Victoria Martínez, Glitch, Uninterrupted II, 2023, silkscreen, Courtesy Victoria Martínez

Hyperstition refers to ideas whose expression releases such vibrations that they ultimately realise themselves, similar to a selffulfilling prophecy. The term was first coined in the 1990s by the interdisciplinary collective Cybernetic Culture Research Unit (CCRU) in the UK, whose members published their findings mainly on blogs on the internet. Hyperstition is a neologism made up of the English words ‘hyper’ and ‘superstition’. Unlike superstition – a fiction that remains fictitious – hyperstition is a fiction that makes itself real. An example of hyperstition is virtual economic speculation, which has become a realityconstituting force in capitalism.

DEEDS NEWS - Museum für Fotografie - SEEN BY - Bailey Keogh
Bailey Keogh, Bunny’s Big Adventure, 2023, Video, Courtesy Bailey Keogh

We live in a complex system of feedback cycles: power supply systems, logistics chains, financial markets, neoextractivist expansion… Confronted with governance models that are unable to initiate the necessary systemic change, younger generations often find thinking about the future difficult and paralysing. This exhibition is inspired by the idea that imagining the future fictitiously offers a better decoding of one’s present than looking at the past.

11 artists are showing 9 works, some of which were created for this exhibition project. Among other things, they deal with new and old thought games from science fiction and digitality, such as our relationship to artificial intelligence and computer simulations or, for example, the glitch as a feminist digital utopia. Online and offline, places are visited on different time levels and linked nonlinearly like time capsules; imagined through dream time travel or collective artistic processes. Light plays a recurring role both in the creation of the photographic works and as a mediatheoretical consideration of the relationship between photography and temporality. In terms of content, the individual works touch on common interests such as the unveiling of relationship complexes, the visualisation of algorithms, examinations of new technologies, internet, mysticism and alchemy. The works shown move between prophetic curiosity and archival interest in the contemporary. Realising that images and documentary no longer show reality, but rather something that could be, we are concerned with the relationship between propositions and things.

And what if there was no beginning?“ 

Iain Hamilton Grant

In the runup to the exhibition, joint working sessions were held. The collective exhibition process began with a systemic constellation, a method from the coaching and therapy field that is suitable for visualising and dealing with conflicts in relationship systems. In addition to classic scenarios such as family, constellations can also be done on larger, abstract systems. This insight constellation work can be placed on different time levels such as past, present or future.

The exhibition was thus preceded by a hyperstitional working method: the grouptherapeutic experiment served as a collective exercise and was at the same time an attempt to reflect the exhibition topic in the format. Thus, one’s own art projects as well as the entire exhibition project were mapped in the constellation, in the now as well as at a certain point in the future: on the day of the opening.

DEEDS NEWS - Museum für Fotografie - SEEN BY - Arwina Afsharnejad und Daria Kozlova
Arwina Afsharnejad and Daria Kozlova, Yellow Prince That Casted Long Shadows, 2023 (ongoing), Videoinstallation, Courtesy Arwina Afsharnejad and Daria Kozlova

Conversations that developed from these sessions revolved around the artworks, but also around the numerous layers of meaning around the exhibition. The individual systems in which the exhibition is embedded were critically examined: We are in Berlin in a former military casino, just across the street from the Bahnhof Zoo subculture milieu. The museum is also home to the photographic work of Helmut Newton, whose art excites an international audience, but at the same time can be identified with an-drocentric world perspectives and patriarchal structures. The exhibition in the room next door “Flashes of Memory: Photography during the Holo-caust” illuminates the darkest chapter of German history. These reflec-tions have been incorporated into the works. An integral part of the exhibi-tion is an open resting space, which picks up on important references and concepts as a collectively designed temporary library. It opens up possibil-ities for dialogue and provides a vocabulary for positioning oneself in this world.

A project by and with Arwina Afsharnejad & Daria Kozlova, Felix Ansmann & Kani Lent, Moritz Haase, Sophia Hallmann, Marie Salcedo Horn, Bailey Keogh, Victoria Martínez, AnnaMaria Podlacha, and Lilith Tyrell (KSE). Curated by Marlena von Wedel.

A special presentation by the Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in cooperation with the Universität der Künste Berlin


Museum für Fotografie
Jebensstraße 2,
10623 Berlin



Friday, 5. May 2023, 6 p.m.

Event period:

Saturday, 6. May – Sunday, 18. June 2023

Opening hours:

Tue + Wed 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thu 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fri – Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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