Artist Commission - Catherine Cartwrightcommission
Automatic Facial Recognition versus the Liminal Portrait-Mask
Catherine Cartwright is a multi-disciplinary artist, working primarily with printmaking, drawing and film, often exploring socio-political issues. She is one of three creative practitioners who have been commissioned by the University of Exeter's Arts and Culture team to explore the theme of 'Urgency'.
Catherine has chosen to explore this theme through a project entitled Automatic Facial Recognition versus the Liminal Portrait-Mask which she will be carrying out between April and July 2019.
She explains, "My practice is concerned with how people have a voice and make change in the world. Gathering with others who share your concerns, in a public place, to stand up, be counted, to call for change, is fundamental to how societies make choices that change lives for the better. Urgency is the integral nature of the protest. The time to speak up is now - when ears are listening and eyes are watching. But what if this tool for change is thwarted? Automatic facial recognition technology (AFR) is fast becoming a way to instil borders and control in a fast-moving fluid world. AFR is commonplace at country borders and eases the flow through passport control. What about the use of AFR in public spaces? What is the impact on our motivation to protest if we know AFR is present, capturing and assessing our facial features?
Through this commission I plan to make portrait-placards with students and members of the public, and through the process explore the nature of AFR and question its possible impact on our future behaviour. I would like to take advantage of the expertise of academic researchers, particularly those working in the field of computer science to hear their perspective and learn from their knowledge. I hope to record some conversations with both protesters and computer scientists to bring together a snapshot dialogue about AFR in 2019.
I will also be making work on this area and collaborating with artist Leonie Bradley, during our residency (May 2019) at Art Lab Contemporary Print Studios in Preston where we will be engaging students at the University of Central Lancashire in conversations around AFR."
For more information about Catherine's work, please see her website here.