FACIAL WEAPONIZATION SUITE (2011 – 2014)

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Facial Weaponization Suite protests against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making “collective masks” in community-based 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, divided between biometric racism (the inability of biometric technologies to detect dark skin), 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 recent veil legislation in France as a troubling site that turns visibility into an oppressive logic of control. A fourth mask takes up biometrics’ deployment as a border security technology at the Mexico-US border and the resulting violence and nationalism 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.

 

 

Credits 
Performers & Participants: Kalvin Henely, Andrew Hibbard, Michelle Lee, Scott Kepford, Martabel Wasserman, David Evans Frantz, Christina Aushana, Ahmad Halis, Dorothy Lee, Mona Liu, Patrick Shin, Allison Spence, Oona Tikkaoja, Tahiez Toro, Dominic Bradley, Katrina De Wees, Anaze Izquierdo, Sara Lyons, Kirya Traber, Omar Aguilar, Mariana Arenas, Andrea Bravo, Helena Chávez, Rosa Almendra González, Claudia Hevia, Natalia Millán, Edalid Mendoza Orestes Montero, Daniela Negrete, Daniel Rodríguez Perez, Martin Rivera, Maria Cruz Rodríguez, and L. Salazar
3D Modeling: Scott Kepford, The Great Nordic Sword Fights, Sergio Del Castillo Tello, Danilo Gasques Rodrigues, and Fernando Nos
Fabrication: Machine Histories
Photography: Christopher O’Leary, Tanner Cook, David Evans Frantz, Dominic Paul Miller, Christine Butler, Orestes Montero Cruz, and Oliver Santana
Support: Medialab Prado, b.a.n.g.lab / Performative Nanorobotics Lab / Calit2 / Visual Arts @ UCSD, Eyebeam, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo