16 May 2023
Artist Talk: Wolfgang Staehle

Slow Networks

For Spike’s sevent artist talk at Soho House Berlin, pioneer Wolfgang Staehle mapped out the technical and aesthetic ancestries of our contemporary adventures in cyberspace, focusing on a three-decade old proto-social network that presaged the emergent tensions, sentiments, and consequences of digital connectivity. It was followed by a Q&A with Spike editor Christian Kobald.


Wolfgang Staehle (*1950) is a German-born American artist. In 1991, following a successful career exhibiting in international galleries, he co-founded the New York-based virtual artist community, The Thing, a bulletin board system of messaging and file-sharing that hosted an S&M roleplay run by artist Julia Scher and exhibited one of the first artworks sold online, Peter Halley’s digital print Superdream Mutation (1993).

In 1996, The Thing began hosting Staehle’s live video streams from sites in the US and Europe, such as the Empire State Building and a Benedictine monastery near his hometown. One of these webcam feeds is one of the only known videos to document the crash of the first plane into the World Trade Center on 11 September. Staehle’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions and group shows at The New Museum, New York; Museum Fridericianum, Kassel; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, among others.