Artists disrupting facial recognition technologies

Here are two fascinating projects that both seek to disrupt facial recognition technologies and resist the pervasive intrusion of our current surveillance society. 

The first is called "URME Surveillance," by Leo Selvaggio. Selvaggio is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on new media, public engagement, and the ways in which identity and technology converge. Selvaggio describes "URME Surveillance" on his website

URME Surveillance is an subversive intervention that protects the public from facial recognition surveillance systems in a variety of ways. The principle method is by inviting the public to wear a photo-realistic, 3D-printed prosthetic of my face. When a user dons the prosthetic, camera systems equipped with facial recognition software identify that user as myself, thus attributing all of their actions to the identity known as "Leo Selvaggio." In this way, wearers of the prosthetic safeguard their own identities by performing my persona in surveilled areas.

The next project is called "Facial Weaponization Suite," by Zach Blas, who is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose work focuses on the intersections of film, computation, theory, performance, and science fiction. On his website he explains "Facial Weaponization Suite":

Facial Weaponization Suite protests against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making "collective masks" in workshops that are modeled from the aggregated facial data of participants, resulting in amorphous masks that cannot be detected as human faces by biometric facial recognition technologies. The masks are used for public interventions and performances. One mask, the Fag Face Mask, generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men's faces, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques. Another mask explores a tripartite conception of blackness: the inability of biometric technologies to detect dark skin as racist, the favoring of black in militant aesthetics, and black as that which informatically obfuscates. A third mask engages feminism's relations to concealment and imperceptibility, taking veil legislation in France as a troubling site that oppressively forces visibility. A fourth mask considers biometrics' deployment as a security technology at the Mexico-US border and the nationalist violence it instigates. These masks intersect with social movements' use of masking as an opaque tool of collective transformation that refuses dominant forms of political representation.

You can watch a fascinating 8-minute film about the project here.