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work samples

urbestselfie

2018

Keywords:
  • augmented reality
  • surveillance
  • privacy
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An early proof of concept that makes use of a marker.

urbestselfie is a body of work around themes of privacy, bodily autonomy, and digital gentrification that makes use of open-source augmented reality technology. It includes a web-based selfie app, created for Art in Odd Places: BODY, as well as other digital works and presentations.

Inspired by Adam Harvey’s CV Dazzle research, I set out to design selfie filters that could defeat the current algorithms used by platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I was able to identify several face obscuration patterns that still function against these platforms and design AR overlays that can be used to create selfies that cannot be identified as faces.

A sample filter defeats Facebook’s recognition algorithms.
A sample filter defeats Facebook’s recognition algorithms.

For Art in Odd Places 2018, I produced a web-based AR app with 3 filters that users could use to decorate their likeness and disguise themselves from the algorithms most commonly used in social sharing apps. The intent was to call attention to the fact that apps that are seen as fun diversions in the United States and European countries share the same technologies used for abuses of power in other nations. By idly supporting these technologies and fueling their improvement, users are complicit in these human rights violations.

Concept art for AioP filters.
Concept art for AioP filters.

A version of the code and research was also used for a workshop for teens on AR technology and privacy at Tec de Monterrey in Spring 2018.