Today’s facial recognition technology is making strides in distinguishing, literally, a face in the crowd. Its algorithms are built into many sites and apps, proving to be a helpful tool in managing images of friends and family. However, it also raises questions about trust, identity and intrusion, for example, when our own images appear without our permission on someone else’s Facebook page.

Artist Carla Gannis explores these issues in The Non-Facial Recognition Project, her experiment in “facial recognition subversion.” Gannis asked her Twitter network to send her their profile photos with the expressed purpose of “scrambling” the images and in effect making new identities unrecognizable to either the donors or to the technology. Through this project, participants place their likenesses and their identities in her hands, much like the trust we place every day in the technology itself.

Essay by Katarina Wong

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