I stumbled upon this link of Queenie Liao’s photos the other day and wondered what Lacan might make of her project. Consider from our Lacan reading a few weeks back: “Identification with a constellation of images leads to a behavioral pattern that reflects the social structures within which these images first emerged.” Lacan was referring the the very first images an infant sees, the collection of them being the “complex.” And this complex is deeply (if not entirely) social, indicating how we inevitably identify ourselves based on our surroundings.
Therefore, I look at this photoshoot–which I know is pretty cool–and see it as an attack on that child’s subjectivity. Irigaray touches on this too, noting how an infant’s identity begins to form even before he/she is born. Similar to how Liao as an artist designs her scenes, she as a mother designs the environment her child inhabits. To take this even further, she also designs her child’s dreams, delving into possibly the most private and subjective part of her child’s existence. I’m not especially offended by this “invasion” because I don’t find the photos Liao takes especially normative or restrictive. However, it’s simply interesting to consider how deeply an infant’s identity is entrenched in the social.