There are only a few things, which we can consider so exclusively our own as our faces. One of the most basic elements of our identity is our most intimate, yet most public part. We barely ever cover this surface of our body, not even in public space, and in some countries, it is considered to be a crime to cover one’s face in particular spaces. Therefore it seems like it is our duty, to always be identifiable when we enter somewhere. But how far this duty of identification extends, and where does the monitoring of people change into illegal and authoritarian surveillance?
In his newest series, Do you accept cookies? Dávid Biró carefully examines the mechanism of face-recognition systems. The exhibition could hardly be more current, as the face is beginning to take on the role of fingerprint thanks to the latest technologies. More and more people are using phones that can be unlocked by face scanning, and cameras in the public space are increasingly using face detection for crime prevention and for law enforcement reasons.
It is beyond doubt that the time has come for us to start dealing with our personal data much more carefully. Although we can decide to delete our profile from social media platforms, and not to accept cookies on websites, we cannot just simply log out from the face recognition system of public spaces.
Dávid Biró attempts to detect the blind spots of the technology of face recognition and to elude the system using various hacks. Meanwhile, he takes the ethical issue of observation and being the one who is observed into the discussion, which is unquestionably one of the most important dilemmas of our time.
(Text by Vanda Sárai)