German artist Martin Backes has created Pixelhead identity concealing mask to help confront the issues of anonymity in the digital age. The artist belives that open sharing is overly pervasive. Sharing of location, images, videos, hobbies and employment through social networks has raised previously unasked questions about the state of our identity. Increasing threats of identity theft and the government-backed omnipresent surveillance in Europe is changing how people evaluate social interactions. Backes’ perspective on media and technology helped inspire the mask:
At the moment, technology is changing the world way too fast, and the social consequences are not fully foreseeable yet. The definition of the term “anonymity” will change as surveillance increases more and more. Although things like having a smart phone and the internet are great, people do need to know the downsides.
As a reaction to this, he created a mask that will help ‘protect’ people from being identified on social media. He developed a printed mask prototype that playfully uses a digitally augmented image of German Secretary of the Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich as a literal shield for someone’s identity. The mask shields the wearer’s entire head and protects anyone from being unintentionally included in publicly shared media. The artist is making a limited run of 333 full-face masks. The number 333 further evokes suspicion, as it is often considered an inauspicious number. The masks are made up of beach sport fabric and have eye and mouth holes for easy breathing.
Click through the gallery below to see more images of the mask:
Images via: Martin Backes