Design fiction, politicized: the wearable face projector

In 2017, a group of Dutch design students created some fictional anonymity "products" that they displayed under the name "Group Anonymous" at Milan Design Week.

One of these design fiction pieces was Group Anonymous member Jing-cai Liu's "wearable face projector" — a hat with a built-in LCD projector that skinned your face with an ever-shifting series of projection-mapped faces.

At the time, the group expressed its hope that their "designs should provoke debates about the emerging future."

But the wearable face projector has gone viral in the wake of Hong Kong's unconstitutional "mask ban" that prohibits protesters from using masks or makeup to confound the facial recognition cameras being used by Hong Kong to exact terrible physical retribution upon people who take part in public calls for respect for their human rights.

In response, Jing-cai Liu has published a statement disavowing any "political intentions…not then, not now" (all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding) and demanding that their work not be associated with the Hong Kong protests: "The copyright of the product/concepts stays in the hands of those designers. They kindly ask to put their works in the right context and always refer back to their websites or named above sources when their concepts are shared. Don't use their works in any political statement."

It's a genuinely weird statement from the "Group Anonymous" who set out to "provoke debate" with an exhibition called "Dystopian Future." I mean, be careful what you wish for, my dudes. I can empathize with not wanting to be dragged into someone else's fight, but this is literally what design fiction is for.

Wearable Face Projector [Jing-cai Liu]

(Thanks, Kim)