Facial Weaponization Suite

| by Zach Blas |

Facial Weaponization Suite protests against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making “collective masks” in community-based workshops that are modeled from the aggregated facial data of participants, resulting in amorphous masks that cannot be detected as human faces by biometric facial recognition technologies. The masks are used for public interventions and performances. One mask, the Fag Face Mask, generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men’s faces, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques. These masks are a manipulation of data, away from the reductive abstraction of biometric algorithms and toward an informatic opacity that is excessive and collective. As such, the masks intersect with social movement’s use of masking as a tool of transformation that refuses dominant forms of political representation.

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Zach Blas is an artist and writer whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. Currently, he is a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.