Jessica Vaughn’s practice sits in the gaping space between bodies and the infrastructures that attempt to regulate them. Over the course of her career, her work has addressed the spatial dynamics corporate offices, public transit, and the health systems in the United States, among others, and how their architectural strategies are designed to interact with myriad publics to increase capitalist productivity.
Sediment, an editioned work for Kunstverein Dusseldorf, consists of a series of three unique collages that consider the body in relation to medical infrastructures. The base of the collages are prescription medication instructions on which Jessica has directly adhered photographs she has taken of medical buildings’ exterior architecture. In this work, private and public, interiority and exteriority, come together in both the instructions and medical architecture without responding to the body itself. Instead, individuals are are universalized, directed, and contained.
The paper instructions are thin and tissue-y, with the fold lines visible, and contrast the heavy photo paper somewhat abruptly: materially, they are imbalanced and asymmetrically weighted. This, paired with the non-visibility of the body in Jessica’s work gestures to the incompatibility of capitalist infrastructures with the our own organic, malleable, emotional selves. As in the prescription directions themselves—in which the body resides in the language without depiction—the artist traces the spaces bodies inhabit. However, importantly, Jessica suggests that it is not the artist’s job to provide what is missing, but to point to how the fixation on productivity and compliance works to reduce individuals to homogenous productive labour.
– Magdalyn Asimakis
Photo: Cedric Mussano