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Performing the Law

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UCL Jeremy Bentham Room

Wilkins Building

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

United Kingdom

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Speaker: Carey Young (Artist; Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London and Honorary Research Fellow, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London)
Chair: Prof. Alison Diduck (vice Dean - Staff, Professor of Law, UCL)


About the talk:

In this UCL Laws talk for International Womens’ Day, Carey Young, visual artist, Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL and Hon. Research Fellow at the School of Law, Birkbeck, will present and discuss her artistic work, which has addressed law for the last 15 years. The talk will centre on a screening of her new video artwork Palais de Justice, recently exhibited in major solo exhibitions in New York and Dallas. The piece was shot at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, the main courthouse of Belgium. Contradicting the familiar patriarchal culture of law, Young’s camera depicts female judges and lawyers sitting at trial, directing proceedings and delivering judgments. The film subtly builds a counter-narrative: a legal system seemingly centred on, and perhaps controlled by women, as if male presence may be optional or unnecessary in this particular future. Young filmed through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors, always shooting without the knowledge or permission of her subjects or the court. The windows and the camera’s lens are portrayed as an interwoven series of oculi, in which we watch justice as performance, and are ourselves implicated as witnesses and voyeurs. The New York Times termed it ‘a distinctly feminist view of jurisprudence..sensitive and bleak’. Artforum reviewed the piece as ‘mesmerizing’ and ‘transfixing’, with Young’s cinematography ‘breathtaking’.

Young will also discuss her related body of artistic work which explores the potential of law as an ‘artistic medium’. Young collaborates with a legal team to make artworks in installation, video, performance, print, sculpture and photography which also operate as bespoke and experimental legal instruments. These have taken such diverse forms as disclaimers, contracts, offers, licenses, cautionary statements and a will, addressing such disparate legal fields as human rights, inheritance law, intellectual property and ‘outer space’ law. These artworks explore law in relation to performance and visuality, and explore law as a separate kind of ‘reality’, one with its own inherent subjectivities and points of breakdown.

About the speaker:

Carey Young’s artistic work has been exhibited widely, including at Tate Britain, Whitechapel Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Dallas Museum of Art, MoMA/PS1 (New York), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the New Museum (New York). Her work is included in the public collections of the Tate Gallery and the Centre Pompidou, and is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. She has given lectures on her artistic work in law conferences at Princeton, Harvard, Birkbeck and the École Nationale de la Magistrature, Paris, amongst others. A monograph on her work, Subject to Contract, was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. www.careyyoung.com

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UCL Jeremy Bentham Room

Wilkins Building

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

United Kingdom

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