Kym Carsons world is a strange one where nothing is certain and uncertainty lies within vision.
Carson has episodes of not being able to distinguish between subject and object. It's an experience both troubled and troubling of what it is to see, and one that questions the sensorial schema and technological apparatus of ocular perception. Carson's perceptual aberrations appear to be coupled to the institutional and she has come to consider 'Her physical presence in the institute as perversion'.
From within and around this world of dys-ocular orientation artist Helena Hunter introduces us as viewers to the dis-located enquiries that Kym Carson makes as she brings her troubling condition to the attention of The Optical Institute and it's Training Programme. We engage with her via the process of her Referral on a Sunday in Islington within the one day Sunday School curatorial project conducted by DAM Projects in A_space, a photographic studio during weekdays but on a Sunday it's domestic dimensions are re-envisioned as a gallery.
We experience the beginning of Carson's condition as she applies to and fills in the referral questionnaires for The Optical Institute and describes her vertiginous, physiological experiences that accompany these collapses of subject/object dynamics, we peer at erie medical films of eye balls being dissected, projected in the room where there is a photographers infinity wall, allowing layering of seeing through extended visual senses via investigative and elaborated knowleges and where we can consider our ocularised worlding and its technologies of space, light and lenses. Carsons condition is extrapolated through institutional spaces and medical narratives, resonances of the psycho-analytic enquiries suggest themselves - the Lacanian hysteric perhaps.
A bank of shelves hold obsolete camera equipment and slide viewing devices that along side bound books of eyes and sight. Two videos on monitors on plinths loop. People (other referrals or gallery attendees, I am not sure, they're status is ambiguous) chat amiably on nearby sofas in what might be a waiting room area. People come and go. Fort/da.
On the monitors there is a female figure in a tight dress of matt sequins. She appears to dance for us, to camera, to a medley of songs that embrace eyes and sight, her movements languid, svelte, elegant, and disarmingly silly as fake goggly eyes spring out of joke glass frames at pertinent musical moments. She is poised and oblivious to her ridiculousness.
The other figure with her back to us explores a white wall, THE white wall that pervades contemporary galleries with all it's thrall, lure, tedium and assertion of histories, currencies and perceptual governance. She proceeds to feel it out with her body, making multiple attempts as if to know the white wall - clumsy, funny, exposing, this mysterious, indelible, unknowable ground upon which we place our artistic artefacts. Finally she takes a single tale whip and beings to lash the wall, slowly gradually expending a virulent, violent punishment of strikes on the unyielding but marked white wall.
Accompanying Referral is a slim booklet, it's cover a corporate double eye logo both crisp and corporate and inside a report containting 'documentation for the assessment of the pupil Kym Carson and her progress on The Optical Institute Training Programme'. On the inside of the back cover is a letter from Kym Carson to the white wall, it is handwritten on white paper that has been crumpled as if to dispose of it but then retrieved and flatten out creating a topography of texture like an overhead view of a landscape - full of purchase and holds; within it she writes:
I want to be in that wonderful and terrible state that makes art inevitable.
Eye Tunes, 2013
Live performance, sound, 5mins, recurring
White Wall, 2014
Live performance, sound, 10-20 min