Laura Poitras. Circles

June 18 – August 8, 2021

In collaboration with Sean Vegezzi and Forensic Architecture.

Curator: Marius Babias

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) presents the first European solo exhibition by artist and filmmaker Laura Poitras. Her works expose state power by focusing on specific individuals confronting it. Circles includes prints from the ANARCHIST series (2016) – drone and satellite images hacked by the USA – and premieres two new video installations. Terror Contagion (2021) is an ongoing investigation by research agency Forensic Architecture and an accompanying film by Poitras. The work investigates Israeli cyber-weapons manufacturer NSO Group and the use of its Pegasus malware to target journalists and human rights defenders worldwide. Edgelands (2021), a collaboration with artist Sean Vegezzi, examines obscured nodes of New York City’s violent carceral and policing infrastructure: a 191-meter prison ship, and a covert surveillance unit to monitor political activity in the city. Together, the works in the exhibition expose how surveillance intersects with physical violence and psychological terror.

The work of Laura Poitras (born 1964 in Boston, lives in New York and Berlin) has deep connections to Berlin. In 2006, her film about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, My Country, My Country, premiered at the Berlinale.  Shortly after, the U.S. government placed Poitras on a terrorist watch list: for the next six years she was interrogated every time she crossed the U.S. border. In 2012, she relocated to Berlin to protect her sources, and was contacted by then-anonymous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The resulting film, CITIZENFOUR (2014), won an Academy Award and a German Film Prize. Her reporting on the NSA received a Pulitzer Prize and led to a German Parliamentary investigation into NSA mass surveillance in Germany.

Public Programme online

Friday, June 18, 2021, 7 pm (CEST)

Livestream: Artist talk

With Laura Poitras (artist), Eyal Weizman (director, Forensic Architecture), Shourideh Molavi (lead researcher, Forensic Architecture), and Sean Vegezzi (artist), moderated by Heba Y. Amin (artist, professor at Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart).

A full press release can be found here.

The exhibition is funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

Neuer Berliner Kunstverein is funded by the LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin.