HEXEN 2.0 is a project by British artist Suzanne Treister. HEXEN 2.0 charts the coming together of diverse physical and social sciences in the framework of post-Second-World-War US governmental and military imperatives. It investigates the development of cybernetics, the history of the internet, the rise of 'Web 2.0' and mass intelligence gathering and the interconnected histories of the counterculture, and explores the implications of new systems of societal manipulation and the development of a 'control society' alongside historical and current responses to advances in technology.
Between 1946 and 1953 the seminal 'Macy Conferences' were held in New York. Planned as an experiment in multidisciplinary science, and considered to be a significant response to a post-Second-World-War world where human values, capabilities and moral impetuses were necessarily under question, the meetings involved the leading mathematicians, engineers, psychologists and social scientists of the day. These thinkers shared the primary goal â€˜to outline a general science of the workings of the human mind'.
HEXEN 2.0 investigates some of the extraordinary intentions and outcomes of these meetings, in particular the development of cybernetics, and looks at their far-reaching influence. Treister's body of work presents a unique critical overview of modern intellectual and scientific history. Key to her artistic strategy is her decision to represent her visions of past interrelated histories by employing alternative systems for divining meaning or creating knowledge: alchemical drawings, tarot cards, gematria and the seance. She writes, 'By representing these subjects and histories through the lens of the alchemical and the occult, HEXEN 2.0 offers a space where one may use the works as a tool to envision possible alternative futures.'