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    Psychotechne: assessment, testing, categorisation

    Marks, Sarah and Bergstrom-Katz, Sasha and Percival, T. (2023) Psychotechne: assessment, testing, categorisation. [Show/Exhibition]

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    Abstract

    Psychotechne: Assessment, Testing, Categorisation is a two-person exhibition of works by Sasha Bergstrom-Katz and Tomas Percival. The artistic research-based projects on view examine how individuals are assessed through tests, forms, and databases that utilise psychometric technologies. A variety of institutions—including educational, medical, and legal systems—utilise such assessments to inform decisions about the people they manage and use these techniques to categorise and move individuals. For example, the outcomes of tests can transfer children into different classrooms based on test-taking abilities; assessments are used to issue diagnoses which have the power to change how people are viewed and how they view themselves; and behavioural and mental health screenings are used to assign categories of “risk” within carceral and penal systems. The two artworks in this exhibition focus on particular case studies to explore how assessment, categorisation, and testing play an active role within institutional decision-making structures. Bergstrom-Katz presents one aspect of an ongoing series of works examining intelligence testing. For this exhibition, she presents On the Subject of Tests: Test as Archive, a two-sided desk that provides space for exploration, engagement and interaction with an array of materials related to intelligence testing. Each desk contains objects from commonly used intelligence test kits (one desk is organised around the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the other the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales). Within each desk drawer is an object from the test kit accompanied by objects, images and articles that directly connect these test objects to other fields and activities including play, education, military recruitment, eugenics movements, and psychology. For this exhibition, Percival developed a new installation emerging from his ongoing research into systems of assessment within the field of security. This work investigates the Offender Assessment System (OASys), a risk assessment tool used within British prisons to assess and manage incarcerated individuals. The project examines how such digital tools are used to make decisions about individuals within the prison estate and the effects of such carceral technologies more broadly. For this project, Percival is collaborating with previously incarcerated people to access their OASys files and staging a series of conversations about the results. The work in this exhibition displays redacted versions of David’s* file, along with three audio pieces based on their conversations, which provide a counter-narrative to the dominant account produced by such punitive technical systems. Finally, the exhibition connects these two technologies to various other methods of assessment, including psychological and medical assessments, by including forms from a variety of settings, many of which might be familiar. Psychotechne asks what it means for individuals’ internal lives and outward behaviours to be recorded and organised, whether by the people themselves or by others. How do institutions use tests and assessments to categorise people? How do these assessments affect peoples’ lives? * David is a pseudonym

    Metadata

    Item Type: Show/Exhibition
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Exhibition, contemporary art, gallery, Assessment, Testing, Categorisation, IQ testing, intelligence testing, prison, incarceration, desk
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Peltz Gallery
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2023 14:17
    Last Modified: 23 Aug 2023 14:05
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/51814

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