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Blending Art With Facial Recognition Technology

Zach Gage's Hit Counter takes inspiration from the early websites of the World Wide Web.

Naresh Kumar
Naresh Kumar on November 23, 2010.

The Hit Counter is an interactive artwork that uses facial recognition software to count and display the number of visitors who have viewed it. Made by New York-based designer Zach Gage, the art is in the form of a birch box which houses a stat counter and a camera eye. Gage’s work is being displayed as part of the ongoing ‘Pixel Pushers’ exhibition at the Scion Installation, Los Angeles.

Here is the artist statement from Gage about the Hit Counter:

In the early days of the Internet, popularity was generally attributed to websites. Site usage was illustrated via “hit counters” at the bottom of each page. With the rise of social media and the self-made user, popularity is now attributed to individuals. Popularity is commonly conveyed with follower counters, friend counters or view counters. Despite the problems that popularity has led to in the physical world, we have opted to translate this metric into the digital/virtual space.

If literal popularity is such an important metric of value, can it not be used to evaluate an artwork?

Hit Counter re-translates this metric back into the physical space. With no other means to judge it, Hit Counter demands to be assigned a worth based solely on its popularity. Hit Counter software makes extensive use of OpenFrameworks, openCV for facial recognition. The hardware is built upon Firmata/Arduino, both open-source as well.

Zach Gage

Thought Processor: “Last Supper 2010 – New Media Art – Zach Gage”

[via Laist]

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