photography, film & performance - concept & innovation -
creative software for business & the arts - research, development & education
DE LA WARR PAVILION, BEXHILL, EAST SUSSEX, UK FEB 14-15 2014
"For 'Dear Serge', Jamie will be presenting an interactive digital artwork, including a 3D HD projection installation. Installed across the main foyer and a second space this ambitious work explores Big Data, Surveillance, and the uses of these systems in contemporary society. Custom software has been developed for use in the project, including Jamie's ongoing collaboration with Dr. Rob Scharein, a 3D computer vision specialist based in Vancouver, Canada." Caleb Madden, Curator.
IN and OUT (air & paper)
An interactive, site-specific public art installation, using video surveillance, face tracking, gesture control and 3D video projections. 'In and Out' explores voluntary versus involuntary public data collection for artistic process.
Located in two parts, in the public foyer and in a darkened room of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, as part of their popular Dear Serge programming weekends, the public are invited to experiment with making art from facetracking and hand gestures, while prompting them to ponder their personal ethics around public surveillance.
A discrete camera scans the faces of visitors as they enter the foyer of a public art gallery. In a darkened room nearby, the public can observe the faces being tracked as it happens. If they wish, they can choose a moment to capture a face from the foyer, adding it to a 3D video projection collage. However, the 'button' that triggers the facegrab, is a fingerprint scanner, thus requiring them to volunteer their fingerprint in order to 'steal' a face. The images are added to an accumulating collage as an abstracted ‘painting’ presented back to the public via a 3D projection system; a virtual digital painting ‘hanging’ in the air. Visitors are invited to place their hands inside a box, using their hand gestures to alter and obfuscate the clarity of the faces in the video collage. Gesture data is collected from the users hands and used to drive the algorithms that abstract and alter the images. The more visitors that engage with the installation, the more the 3D video collage grows.
IN and OUT (air & paper) asks questions about the complexities of public image gathering. In some ways it is a Luddite gesture, reducing precise digital identity data to an abstracted, aesthetic expression, where the useful (identity) data has been removed. By returning the images to the public on virtual ‘paper’, the collaged artwork is presented only in a temporary state and is not easily archived since it is dependent on a flow of live data. Specifically, the images are no longer useful as source database material for face tracking or fingerprinting. The virtual ‘paper’ exists only in the ephemeral realm of binary numbers, live data, beams of light and brain illusions.
We now live in the age of Big Data where face tracking technology combined with nationalised identity databases that make it possible for governments and corporations to track our behaviours and activities. While many agree that public surveillance for national security is a good idea, they are not aware that the technology is now cheap and relatively easy to use. Startup kits are commercially available for 1000 Euros, allowing small companies to set up a discrete face tracking database to monitor individual staff activities 24/7 through computer webcameras and security cameras installed onsite, that even allowing timetracking of how often a cashier is smiling.