Photo via Anti-Surveillance Feminist Poet Hair and Makeup Party
As facial recognition technology makes the transition from dystopic science fiction boogie-man to modern Big Brother reality, folks are becoming understandably concerned about being tracked and recorded without their permission. In many cities, including New York, it is at least unwise if illegal to wear a mask in public, so completely obscuring your face is out of the question. As an alternative, artist and designer Adam Harvey has developed a make-up technique—CV Dazzle—that hides from facial recognition software but falls well within the parameters of legal fashion. Confusing the machines is surprisingly simple:
The name is derived from a type of World War I naval camouflage called Dazzle, which used cubist-inspired designs to break apart the visual continuity of a battleship and conceal its orientation and size. Likewise, CV Dazzle uses avant-garde hairstyling and makeup designs to break apart the continuity of a face. Since facial-recognition algorithms rely on the identification and spatial relationship of key facial features, like symmetry and tonal contours, one can block detection by creating an “anti-face”.
“Anti-Surveillance Makeup Parties” have made waves with a subset of young feminists, but I don’t see CV Dazzle actually catching on in our highly aesthetically-minded urban centers. The source pattern, “Dazzle” is most relevant in today’s culture as the inspiration for an ugly-ass, Jeff Koons-designed yacht. The look is bad enough on a boat, but it certainly runs counter to what most people consider attractive on a female face. Meanwhile most men stubbornly refuse to even try mascara (even though you’d look so pretty!)
Still, while the practical applications of CV Dazzle may be limited, especially as facial recognition becomes more and more accurate, as an art project this dystopic raver of an “anti-face” is a fascinating take on privacy. Check out the makeup tutorial from artist Jillian Mayer below to get the basics—your life may depend on it, enemy of the state!