Screen Saver Gallery, 2020
“Andrea’s fascination with digital images, in which everything existing is increasingly concentrated, combined with an interest in Vilém Flusser’s philosophy often results in projects that combine the philosophical background of the problem with the visuality of digital interfaces or their fragments. The increasingly tangible transformation of society into a digital society brings with it a number of new situations and problems, which the author often reflects in her works.
In this project, Andrea was inspired by manipulation techniques used to reduce the perceiving ability to recognise a human face, such as vertical inversion or “upside-down “, and the subsequent application of creative tools and filters available in software programs such as blur, multiplication, fade, defocus of parts of the whole, and similar. By applying these techniques, the project researches intersections in ways human, and the machine recognises or identifies individual faces. The mechanism of recognising a face as a bodily part is framed by the hypothesis of the specificity of the face, borrowed from the field of neurophysiology. The decisive role for the ability to recognise a face is played by the area between the temporal and occipital lobes in the lower part. At the moment of identification of an object as a face, the areas of the cerebral cortex are activated, which are specifically focused on the analysis of the face and its characteristics. The individual features of the face are essential in the individual recognition of the face, while one of the most critical parts of the face, even from the point of view of mimic expressions, is the eyebrow. (Trnka, Blažek (eds.), 2009) Computer-generated drawings of faces, consisting only of contours, on the other hand, are for the human recipient much more challenging to recognise. In any case, the primary focus of a human should be on identifying the face as a face.
An extension of these principles and theses is Andrea’s parallel use of dots, which is based on the specific location by which artificial intelligence is able to quote such an object as a human face. She recognises an analogy between human and machine perception when machine communication works on principles similar to those used by a human brain. The work is intertwined with an interest in the boundaries and intersections of human and machine – the realisation, perception, evaluation of specific features that should lead to the recognition of the same object, in this case, the human face. To emphasise on this line of research, moments a side-by-side visualization of human and machine vision of the becoming or fading face take place on the screen.
The creative principle in Andrea’s work is the application of dots and lines. From the used photographs, she creates algorithmically generated geometric compositions or minimalistic geometric portraits. This creative method is used to examine the relationships between objects on the face. A quick reminder here when a graphical representation was used to manifest relationships between objects of a human body – in the mid last century Siegfried Giedion’s Mechanisation Takes Command (1948) presented a detailed account about the forms and impacts of mechanisation. It offered a range of techniques spanning from those for capturing human movements as graphical representations to the features of everyday household objects like the bathtub.
In Andrea’s project, however, the principles used are mutually interfering; for example, a line is often used as a tool to obscure a particular fact, an algorithm, or a process. As an outcome of these interactions, new visual objects arise. The project could be seen as intrinsic research of software algorithms that are involved in specific ways of representation in digital media, in this case, in the services of the art.
How do we identify with digital art practices, mediated by technologies that themselves pose a challenge in terms of their use and interpretation? Their primary concern might be to assess the quality of data sets behind the human-readable visual outcome, that is the semiotics of the computer culture or the complexity of generative processes used to create digital aesthetics. But does the increasing move into the digital world has to make us become more robotic or on the contrary, more human, feeling, fleshy? The role of art might also be to invent ways how to navigate these challenges in the digital age.” Monika Szűcsová
foto © Screen Saver Gallery