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"See My Gender"

June, 2021

In ‘See My Gender’, Qingyi Ren ruminates on the tensions between gender and facial recognition. Framed as a performance for video ‘See My Gender’ sees the artist alter their appearance in the application of various materials including paper, textile, metal, string, and makeup. Throughout the work Ren applies these materials demanding the facial recognition software both recognize and determine them again and again, slowly creating a myriad of portraits that determines Ren only in binary terms. Each time we see Ren indexed across gender, age, and emotional state and each time we encounter the results change. Each appearance is calculated in approximates signaling appearances in terms of percentages. The covering of both eyes and nose see Ren determined to appear female at 89.9% where the application of streaked makeup determines Ren’s appearance as 91% male. Throughout the performance, the artist sits silently looking out to the viewer. The calm and paced application of materials builds throughout the video wherein the final moment's Ren’s face is completely covered. In these final shots, it is only the viewer who is required to recognize Ren and in these final moments, we linger viewing Ren who no longer views themselves but is left to be viewed, to be determined, recognized, constructed even, by others.

Exhibition information:

London, UK