SURVEILLANCE & CONTROL
1.1 YOLO: MACHINE VISION
At the entrance of the gallery, a red carpet forced the visitors to walk the path of spectacle – let’s not forget the place promised by social media to those who make use of its web servers – leading to an image of themselves being analyzed by an object detection program. The YOLO Real-Time Object Detection is an open source code software and just a small sample of the powerful algorithmic exercise that operates behind the systems of massive vigilance, facial recognition, and object detection, among others. The software tagged live different objects through one of the most profitable recent branches of artificial intelligence, known as machine vision or artificial vision. The aggressive intrusion of the machine, programed by Colombian artist and programmer Gabriel Zea, informed about the general tone of the exhibition from the start.
1.2 HISTORICAL STOCK DATA
A monochrome scrolling message LED display bordered the main exhibition space, recalling the existing close relationship between systematic vigilance and capital production. The stock price variation for the last five years of companies dedicated to the management of digital data scrolled continuously, adding color to the white walls with a red light. Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon recognized as the most valuable companies in the world, had available in their web servers, at the time of the exhibition, most of the data in the room. Social networks, services of massive vigilance for private and state security, subject profiling, digital commerce, artificial intelligence or object detection programs are some of the fronts of this outstanding corporations.
1.3 HAAR LIKE FEATURES
The larger wall displayed 39 paintings that referenced dystopic profiling, a future threat to our civil freedoms. The starting point for this series of paintings were geometric patterns taken from the Haar Like Features, one of the most popular mechanisms used by computers to recognize the essential characteristics of objects present in an image/bitmap out of patterns of light and shadow. The images uploaded by members of social networks feed and improve, through hashtags and descriptions, the capacity of machines to recognize and “signify” the content present in each publication. It is not surprising that vanguard systems can censor and predict human behavior with such boldness. How long until complex human judgments are replaced by a determining analysis and prejudice is fed exclusively by the specificity of a bi-dimensional image? How influential will the judgment of a machine become in the future?
1.4 INTERVENED SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS
The lighting of the space was devised by five potent spotlights, installed inside the casing of old security cameras. The light blinded the viewer/user, especially when sitting on a bench constructed to occupy the full length of the room. Each casing was intervened with the Federal Tax ID Number of some corporation in charge of modeling circuits of vigilance and economies of affection. The gallery, therefore, became a sort of baroque theater in which gaze invited or evaded the social game. The gallery space was though, after all, as an analog space of social media.