The Vision Machine
In her work, Carey Young examines the rhetorics of power within the institutional, commercial, or state structures on which capitalist societies are built. Attending specifically to the representation of female subjectivity, Young activates mechanisms of mimetics and performativity to surface gender inequality and the arbitrariness of administrative procedures. At the crossroads of various disciplines, including law, business, politics, and science, her works transform how we perceive bodies and reality.
The exhibition at Dazibao features two video works by Carey Young that deconstruct the official narrative of how great men carried out an optical conquest of the world. In the screening room, The Vision Machine (2020) takes us inside the factories of SIGMA Corporation, a manufacturer of high-quality lenses. Shooting her video with lenses manufactured by the company, Young observes the production process from the mechanized grinding of the glass to the assembly of the parts and manual calibration of the finished product. The human agents in this process are exclusively female: the work thus also doubles as a speculative fiction in which the metaphorical matrix of all contemporary visual culture, the lens factory, is entirely run by women. As a counterpoint, Mirror System (2023) consists of a montage of excerpts from tutorials, demos, and promotional videos for cameras and lenses. Young has cut away all images of the photographers (a systematically male figure in this type of production) to expose a sequence of models (invariably female). Their “capture” by the camera is thus inverted in a powerful affirmation of a feminized gaze.
Exhibition presented by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and produced in partnership with Dazibao.