Respondent: Hal Foster
My engagement in the problematic of ‘pixelation’ and ‘de-pixelation’ comes from the decision to see and look at the world at it is, and to insist in doing so. I believe that ‘de-pixelation’, ‘pixelation’, blurring or masking and furthermore censorship or self-censorship, is a growing and insidious issue, also in the social media today. I don’t accept that, under the claim of ‘protecting’—protecting me, protecting the other—the world is pixelated in my place. I want, I can, I need and I must use my own eyes to see everything in our world, as act of emancipation.
‘De-pixelation’ is the term I use to manifest that pixelating no longer makes sense. Pixels, blurring, masking, and censorship in general, can no longer hold back or conceal fake-news, facts, opinions or comments. Fake-news, facts, opinions, comments entirely take part in the “Post-Truth”. We have definitely entered the post-truth world. Pixelation stands for the form of agreement in this post-truth world. I want to insist heavily on what makes me work in a kind of urgency and necessity: The world has to be ‘de-pixelated’.
Thomas Hirschhorn was born in 1957 in Bern (Switzerland). He studied at the Schule für Gestaltung Zürich from 1978 to 1983 and moved to Paris in 1983, where he has been living since. His work is shown in numerous museums, galleries and exhibitions among which the Venice Biennale (1999 and 2015), Documenta11 (2002), 27th Sao Paolo Biennale (2006), 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburg (2008), the Swiss Pavillion, 54th Venice Biennale (2011), La Triennale at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012), 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012), Gladstone Gallery New York (2012), Manifesta 10 in Saint-Petersburg (2014), Atopolis Mons (2015) and South London Gallery (2015). Thomas Hirschhorn’s ‘Presence and Production’ projects include among others the "Gramsci Monument" in the Bronx, New York, 2013 and “Flamme éternelle” at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2014, the “Bijlmer Spinoza Festival”, Amsterdam, 2009, and “Sperr” at Wiesbaden Biennale 2016. A selection of his writings is published in English "Critical Laboratory: The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn", MIT Press (October Books), 2013.
Hal Foster is Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University. His latest book is Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency. A cofounder of Zone Magazine and Books, he is a coeditor of October Magazine and Books.