Mark Kasumovic’s Instrumental II (2018) brings together recent video work and photographs from the past four years that focus on sites of advanced research, information collection and technology. The appropriately chosen title can be read as a double entendre; both how instrumental scientific research becomes in our daily life and the fact that complex instruments are required throughout the research process. In our modern society, knowledge production and technology exist in an endless feedback loop, mutually necessary for each other in the relentless pursuit of progress.
Additionally, through another instrument—Kasumovic’s camera—these spaces are converted into visual information we can read, albeit subjectively and with limited explanation. His titles, largely didactic, provide only a vague explanation of the spaces function, but it is enough to spark our curiosity. Rigidly composed and immaculately printed in large scale, Kasumovic’s photographs invite close inspection. Primarily devoid of human presence, we are left to question what strange and unique activities take place in these unfamiliar spaces. Some spaces bear obvious marks of modern technology, such as “Caution—Laser Laboratory,” where others such as “Bedroom—Assisted Living Laboratory” appear practically domestic at first glance. However, upon closer examination one notices the cold industrial doors and computerized monitoring equipment.
Considering that documentary photography often claims to reveal the unseen and underappreciated for public benefit, Kasumovic’s work is well positioned within this tradition. Even if hidden in plain sight, we haven’t seen the spaces he records because they remain restricted from public view, accessible only by specialized personnel. Ultimately, Kasumovic’s Instrumental II explores the ways in which technology and photography constantly define the way we live our lives and affect how we perceive the world around us.