Averaging Mirror

Zeesy Powers

2015, 00:00 minutes, colour, silent

TAPECODE 1030.23

The Averaging Mirror is an “anti-selfie”. The viewer is presented a full-sized portrait of themselves, face blurred as when anonymity is granted to the guilty, innocent or afraid on-camera. It is an image familiar to us all now, our faces reflected in a screen, but in this work, the screen has taken on proportions equivalent to historic portraiture, movie posters, or advertising. It is softened into an Impressionistic style by the enlargement of a low-resolution camera on a high-resolution screen. By opaque mechanisms, the mirror obscures the viewers’ digital reflection through the act of identifying them. Like an iphone, it has the aura of magic. Its aesthetically smooth and impenetrable surface executes its function without providing easy access to - or understanding of - how it works behind the screen. The computer recognizes the viewer through the OpenCV facial recognition algorithm. First released in January 2000, it is still widely used in software from surveillance to consumer products. Glitches and errors in the recognition reveal flaws in the software’s standards. The system works seamlessly for some, while others are given less-than-equal treatment by the machine. What we rely on in our daily lives has the aura of magic, as we upload our lives without knowledge of how it works behind the screen.

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