Dávid Biró: Do you accept cookies?
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.
For his newest series, Biró created face-imitating installations, in order to experiment
on what the human eye recognizes as a face, and what appears to be a face
according to the algorithm of mobile cameras as well. It is an interesting, instructive
experience to examine these pictures through a camera of a mobile phone. And the
gives a great insight into how personal data has become the most
valuable currency of the 21st century.
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.
Courtesy of the artist and Trapéz Gallery
Photocredit Dávid Biró