First Hershman Leeson retrospective at ZKM

Hershman, ZKM


Multimedia artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has been one of the first artists to investigate the issue of human identity on its contentious link with a growing technological society, subdued by consumerism and principles of surveillance, stressing out the interpenetration between real and virtual worlds and between human and machines. 

Naturally, using technological and digital tools has been an evident way for her to express how the notion of identity has changed over the years. As she said “identity has become more technological, more global, more cyborgian (…) We are all part of global re-patterning that is happening live on a global scale and it is naive to assume we can act independently or not be connected or affected. We are constantly challenged, influenced by peripheral and pervasive information and in turn we have become fodder for surveillance and digital integration.”

Alongside with her movie director work (Teknolust in 2002, or !Women Art Revolution in 2011, a feature-length documentary about the Feminist art movement in the United States that starts as a movie and keeps going on as a work-in-progress online), she has been then constantly looking for innovation. After starting with her seminal project Roberta Breitmore (1973-78), a very performative and acting work of construction of a fictional persona, she developed the first interactive video disc with Lorna in 1984, and then web-art projects such as Agent Ruby, an artificial intelligence Internet entity created in 2001 that has been keeping chatting with online users since that time, shaping its own personality. She now keeps working on new tools like smartphones (her series of portraits iPhone Crack Series) and digital printers.

There is then very few surprise to see digital art institution ZKM devoting her this first big personal  retrospective, Civic Radar, which not only ensures an overview of all creative phases in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s oeuvre but also give key access to her most recent productions.

Civic Radar  by Lynn Hershman Leeson

from 14 of december 2014 to 29 of March 2015
ZKM | Center for Art and Media
Karlsruhe, Germany


Laurent Catala