People standing and wearing goggles in front of knelling people holding flashlights.

Stefanie Hessler

Arts Professional
Artist in Residence, 2017

Artist Statement

My work as a curator and writer focuses on systems—be they economic, social, or ecological—and how their elements influence one another, often guided by the interest to introduce new impulses that change them. I am particularly interested in exhibitions and texts that “perform” rather than describe their subject matter. Together with Carsten Höller I co-founded the art space Andquestionmark in Stockholm, where we invite artists to create “unsaturated” artworks that are less final objects than tools to understand and create reality, and that require the presence of the audience to be completed. In 2015 I co-curated the Momentum Biennial in Norway titled “Tunnel Vision,” examining how the personalization of the Internet through metadata algorithms sparks so-called filter-bubbles and you-loops. Since 2016 I am curator for TBA21 The Current, an interdisciplinary fellowship program on a research vessel in the Pacific investigating human impact on the oceans.

While at Headlands

I plan to deepen my research into time, with a particular focus on technological acceleration. I aim to look at the synchronicity of socio-economic speed and the consumption of different substances—from amphetamines during the 1920s to psychedelics in the 1960s, to Adderall and LSD microdoses used today to aid productivity. My research focuses on the impacts of rapidity on humans and society as well as on ecology, such as in the divergence between accelerated data processing and consumption, and the geological growth rates of minerals extracted and used in our technologies. I will also look into quests of engineering immortality by libertarian entrepreneurs and the countercultural origins of these for-profit explorations. The Bay Area is particularly interesting for my research into time and how it coalesces with technology because of its role as a hub for startups and biotech companies.