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“Disembodied Identities” investigates the machinic perception of the “suspect” face through a facial recognition technologie method known as eigenface, in order to both reveal and problematize the ways of seeing that underlie it.
Producing an image of a phantom-like blur of multiple overlapped faces that for human vision lingers on the threshold of recognition, the eigenface portrait reveals a way of seeing that is based on the statistical processes of pattern recognition and it can be understood as a portrait of machine recognition, making visible the processes through which the algorithm performs recognition and ‘sees’ the human face.
Presenting a paradox between clarity and obscuration, “Disembodied Identities” examines biometric technologies designed to target individual identities, with our bodies defining them according to standardized classification systems, and ranking them according to a hierarchy of values such as suspicion and risk, as part of a set of technologies under development to address a fundamental concern of modern societies: the problem of “disembodied identities” or the existence of visual and textual representations of individuals who circulate independently of their physical bodies.
About Marta Revuelta
Marta Revuelta is an artist and a designer who lives and works in Geneva. Her artistic practice appropriates and associates elements from scientific research in artificial intelligence, algorithms of machine learning, and computer vision while using mechatronics, software programming, and biometric technologies to inquire fundamental ethical questions regarding the moments of drift or misuses, the limits and the status of these technological artifacts driven by AI used in the field of security and defense. Through her work, she tries to make algorithmic systems, characterized by their total opacity, more tangible and perceptible, to reveal their mechanisms and explore their impacts, halfway between critical design and art, engineering, and data science. She is co-founder of the collective Bureau de Crise, a research platform of concerned artists, security engineers, and researchers who map out privacy issues in our society and act collectively on self-empowerment in the digital world.