Sterling Crispin uses evolutionary algorithms to produce masks that satisfy facial recognition algorithms: "my goal is to show the machine what it's looking for, to hold a mirror up to the all-seeing eye of the digital-panopticon we live in and let it stare back into its own mind."
This work is an act of political protest by means of bringing transparency to the surveillance and biometric techniques used today. These DATA-MASKS give form to an otherwise invisible network of control and identification systems and make their effect on our identities tangible and visible.
"You can't hit what you can't see, you can't grab what you can't touch. You can't critically engage with technoculture and its infrastructure if you're unable to unravel its threads, run your fingers through the seams, visualize its jurisdiction and weigh its influence on everyday life." #Stacktivism
Computer systems built to represent human identities have contained with them many ontological assumptions about what it is to be an individual and what personal identity is. These systems define the human as a "what" ie: that which can be measured, not as a "who" ie: our inner self.
If the state of the art in computer science can produce a unique feature that describes an individual as such, what good does that do the individual if this knowledge is only leveraged against them?
If private citizens personal information, social graphs, and communications are being analyzed then the results should be made available to said persons to empower rather than enslave them. This attitude has become popular in personal fitness but not in communications, biometric identity, or social networks.
"We see the world, not as it is, but as we are" – Talmud
DATA-MASKS [Sterling Crispin]
(via O'Reilly Radar)