Harvestworks 2018: DATA LOG with Face Recognition

Data Log is a projection-mapped light sculpture which serves as both a mirror and a viewing device. The work juxtaposes selfie culture with surveillance and bulk data collection. The viewer is reflected through a central webcam in the top panels,…

Harvestworks 2018: DATA LOG with Face Recognition

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Data Log is a projection-mapped light sculpture which serves as both a mirror and a viewing device. The work juxtaposes selfie culture with surveillance and bulk data collection. The viewer is reflected through a central webcam in the top panels, and the bottom panels display live web feeds from random unlocked webcam streams found on insecam.org. Data Log is full coded in Max (Cycling ’74).

With my larger installations, I incorporate surveillance video feeds via my own custom digital code and projection mapping, sometime using the Fairy Organs to illuminate trigger points. These works aim to examine the relationship between the joy of selfie culture and the lack of security in bulk data collection, with the aim of conjuring dialogue around increased surveillance via private companies and governments. I siphon password-free webcam feeds from around the world into projection-mapped sculptures, so that people in those feeds are a part of the installations but do not know it. I began developing this code and the sculptural structures for works such as Data Log while on residency in 2016, and have continued to develop the project in numerous venues on the East Coast.

The latest development of the code for DATA LOG was funded by a grant from Harvestworks NYC. This video shows the updated console for smoother video effects, as well as the use of face recognition. The program takes a snapshot of a face interacting with the webcam every 10 seconds, and saves this image as a .jpg file with the date in the file name. These new additions allow the program to function as a real life data log, functioning in a similar way to many commercial and government surveillance systems today. Users will be asked for consent to participate in this aspect of the installation during the next exhibition in 2019. The exhibition will be announced in a post on surveillancex.tumblr.com.

Sound: BODYSURFER – Call Your Grandma (Creative Commons License)

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