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Biometric Mirror


Biometric Mirror is an interactive art exhibit created and produced by Lucy McRae. Patrons of the exhibit are invited to casually glance into one of the installation’s mirrors which then runs an artificial intelligence software to analyze and “perfect” the patron’s physical facial features. The exhibit utilizes technologies researched and developed at the University of Melbourne that take into consideration physical attributes of the face including age, gender, and race, which are then quantified and modified through use of an algorithm to produce a Marquardt Mask, or a more “physically perfect” version of ones face.The participant is therefore shown, face to face a simulated version of themselves. Something that is similar, but eerily "off." They are presented with a doppelganger who is supposedly superior to themselves.


the-facial-masks-01-repose-frontal.jpg       The Marquardt Mask is an algorithmic process which “identifies facial characteristics that are universally perceived as beautiful.” It does so by analyzing one’s face and comparing it to a database of faces which have been measured and gauged in 14 different categories of beauty and attraction.In addition to creating a perfected version of ones face, the AI embedded mirror also performs the convenience of quantifying ones attractiveness as well as identifying their current emotional state through facial recognition software. Biometric Mirror’s objective is to personalize the application of the Marquardt Mask to the patrons of the exhibit and pose the question, “…whose version of perfection is it really?” This exhibit challenges artificial intelligence’s objective assertions on a subjective matter. The patron is subconsciously asked to subscribe to a machine’s discoveries, supposedly based in math and semi-perfect science, or, instead, decide to invest their beliefs in more subjective determining factors. After all, how can one trust the diagnosis of emotion from an entity which has never and cannot experience emotion in the same mode as a human person? Moreover, the biometric mirror asks participants to identify and officially define their own interpretation of the concept of beauty. Beauty is a subjective concept that while it has a defined meaning, is an innately differing concept, varying in perception from one individual to another.