Through Magnified Faces Tony Oursler Is Teaching Us That Biometric Data Recognition Is Going Too Far

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Tony Oursler - Photography 4Common movie scenes are showing us police mug shots, incognito faces in crowds and wanted killer posters. None of these seem unnatural or chocking anymore, we are tamed by cyberculture and technology. We could not imagine having to go through an identity check other than with our passport, signature or a police officer physically present in front of us. Yet, we’ve already left those ancient methods and engaged with facial, retina and odour recognition; fingerprints and hand geometry. We’ve entered the biometric data era. Not always conscious of how fast the world evolves around us, Tony Oursler has set a mission to “invite the viewer to glimpse themselves from another perspective that of the machines we have recently created”. He has been exploring the link between the growth of our technological dependance and its effect on our psychology.

The artist has created magnified face images, some of them coated with a stainless steel panel embeded with video screens and others marked with geometric patterns of algorythmic facial recognition mapping. He is embarking us with a dash of humor into the disturbing technology’s effect on the human mind. Tony Oursler plays with the face. Starting with the eyes and going down into the neck,  he is suggesting that technology will use every bit of skin and organ to study the daily behavior, emotions and rituals of humans in order to categorize them. The viewer when facing those giant profiles is left with the strange feeling of being watched. The artist wants to highlight how uncanny is the process of teaching machines how to observe only the external appareance and to pretend, from there, to understand human’s true nature.

Tony Oursler is currently represented by Lisson Gallery.


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