I’m in Montreal this week for The HTMlles 10 / Risky Business: Feminist festival of media arts + digital culture, which runs from November 10 – 18. Super excited to be here and participating with this festival!

My Facial Weaponization Suite: Fag Face Mask is in the festival exhibition at Studio XX.

On November 12 from 2 – 4pm, I will lead a walkthrough of the exhibition at Studio XX, co-hosted by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at McGill University.

I’ll also be leading a workshop called “Faces, Biometrics, and the Aesthetics and Politics of Recognition: A Mask-Making Workshop” at OBORO on the evening of November 12 from 6 – 9pm.

I’ve also got some writing in the festival reader!

The 10th edition of The HTMlles will take up the notion of risk. To risk: to gain or to lose (it is uncertain), to expose oneself to a possibility… Risk is a potential. Whether used positively or negatively, the idea of risk implies that of evaluation, action and distribution, and thus, power. While the term “risk” evolved with the development of capitalism, the concept of “risk society” is about twenty years old and has been used by scholars to describe how modern society organizes around the idea of risk, that is, in response to a future (which society should be able to manage). By simply invoking or imagining the future, one immediately engages in risky behaviours. Anything and everything can become risky… Indeed, there exists a global economic and industrial complex organized around monitoring and moderating “risk”, from insurance companies to investment products, as well as technologies and approved, standardized methods of risk assessment and risk management. There are also whole sets of techniques of calculation, “optimization” and social control that rely on the presence of a notion of “risk,” from so-called “at-risk-populations” to who are considered “vulnerable,” “suspect” or, increasingly so nowadays, “insolvable.”

In such a critical moment, it is perhaps crucial to ask (ourselves) some questions. How does the language of risk articulate itself today? What is at risk today? How can one take risks today? What are the different levels of risk in our various (trans)actions? What is the relationship between risk, technology and power? How is risk both managed and created? How is it distributed? Since when does one “invest” in one’s future and what does it actually mean? Do “crises” serve to pacify the communities being affected by these “crises”? Who are they? What do artists have to say about these so-called risks and crises? How is making art risky today? Who speaks? To whom and in the name of what?

ZACH BLAS (US) / FACIAL WEAPONIZATION SUITE: FAG FACE MASK

In response to emerging studies that link successfully determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques, The Facial Weaponization Suite has been developed to provide sets of masks for public protest, such as “collective masks” that allow one to wear the faces of many with a single mask. One mask, The Fag Face Mask, is generated from the biometric facial data of many gay men’s faces. This facial data is gathered into a single three-dimensional surface; when brought together in 3D modeling software, the result is a mutated, unrecognizable facial mask that cannot be read or parsed by emerging mechanisms of capture and recognition-control. Like the black bloc, The Fag Face Mask uses collectivity to evade individual detection, refusing to abide by biometric facial identification and struggles to withdraw from the “calculated and quantifiable being” that has become all too knowable and commodified in cybernetic capitalism.

 

DISCUSSION
ENCOUNTER WITH ZACH BLAS

STUDIO XX
November 12, 14h-16h
4001 Berri, space 201 (metro Mont-Royal + Sherbrooke)
free admission
registration required; readings may be assigned
 www.mcgill.ca/igsf

Visiting artist Zach Blas leads a talk and tour of the 4001 Berri installations. Co-hosted by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at McGill University, and Media@McGill, the Encounter is intended to create a contemplative space for personal reflection and facilitated discussion on the themes presented in the artworks. Free admission; registration required; readings may be assigned.

 

WORKSHOP
FACES, BIOMETRICS, AND THE AESTHETICS AND POLITICS OF RECOGNITION:
A MASK-MAKING WORKSHOP

OBORO
November 12, 18h-21h
4001, Berri (metro Mont-Royal + Sherbrooke)
Regular Price : 25 $ – Reduced price: 15$*
Payment at the door
Registration : risque at htmlles.net
  

 

ZACH BLAS (US)

In this workshop, we explore mask-making as a queer and feminist resistant practice against emerging forms of biometric facial recognition. In the first part of the workshop, we discuss the social and political impacts of biometric technologies in global and local contexts through pre-circulated readings. Then, we attempt to make a “collective mask,” based on the facial data of participants in the workshop. In the second part, we collectively organize a performative public intervention based on readings, discussions, and the mask-making process.

Tagged with:
 

Comments are closed.