Hito Steyerl, 2012


Guards was recorded in the Art Institute of Chicago museum. The head of security, Martin Whitfield, and museum guard Ron Hicks explain for the camera how they protect valuable works of art – a "soft target" when one considers what could be attacked.

For the duration of the 20-minute video, their experiences as armed police officers and their demonstration of a defense strategy in the white cube literally transform the prestigious institution into a battle zone, in which every inch of wall and every minute of contemplative silence come under the protection of the security apparatus – as does Steyerl herself, who we see in the closing credits sitting cheerfully on a bench as a representative viewer and an artist whose commissioned work of Institutional Critique will now be in the care of the Art Institute's security team.

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Hito Steyerl
1 channel video, color video, stereo audio
1080px x 1920px, 20'12"