Profiling: Mary Stephenson

June 26, 2024
Event Types
Public Program

For this first iteration of Profiling, Mary Stephenson invites participants to consider how memories formed in familiar spaces shapes our persona. 

Instructed by a ‘Director’ and taking a familiar format of a script, will you as the actor adhere to the written demands?  This instructional format guides participants through a set of tasks forcing one to come to terms with their memories of a place. However, as the script is activated, there are decisions along the way that conjure broader philosophical questions. Stephenson probes through humorous tasks investigating what it means to follow a director’s demands. Through the choices and tasks provided, the text questions where one's comfortability lies even when surrounded in a personal space. My Director & Me forces one’s imagination to open the mind, tap into memories perhaps forgotten, and consider how these memories shape us.

About the Artist 

Mary Stephenson (b. 1989, London, United Kingdom) completed a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy Schools, London (2019-2023), having graduated from The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (2007-2011). Working primarily in painting, Stephenson’s canvases convey complex narratives across liminal, psychologically charged surrealities. Governed by an intuitive internal logic, their scenographies are often rendered in luminous twilit settings populated by idiosyncratic sylph-like beings or left seductively vacant. Throughout, an uncanny mood pervades her work, offset by shades of poignancy and dark humour, revealing the subtle persistence of the unconscious upon our constructed identities and projected selves. 


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This summer, we invite you to join us for our remote summer series, Profiling, which will present five artist-designed questionnaires or forms that reconsider how we present ourselves through online profiles, or how the data we input shapes our identity.

Online profiles have been folded into the fabric of our identities, but can we take a step back and reconsider the information we are asked to provide that construct our online digital selves? Alternatively, can we analyze the forms and questionnaires that structure the way we are forced to identify ourselves? These profiles have increasingly become a way of establishing interpersonal relationships. We are forced to fit ourselves into a persona that shapes how we interact and are perceived by others. We check boxes that limit our personality and are thus placed into a category that we might not even identify with. In this series, artists will take a deeper look at the structures that collect data that inform our profiles, rethink what shapes our identities, and expose how the data being collected is used by these invisible entities.

A new iteration will be released on the List Center website every other Wednesday, from June 26 to August 21, 2024. Participants are invited to engage with the series asynchronously throughout the season.

Profiling is organized by Emily Garner, Senior Manager Campus and Public Programs, with Cassidy Westjohn, Program Coordinator.

Participating Artists: Lauren Lee McCarthy, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Mary Stephenson, Mariam Suhail, Anne Le Troter.