‘Sharing Faces’ Mirror Matches Your Expression with Distant Person
Art and computer science collide to reflect different people with same expression as the onlooker
Artist Kyle McDonald has created “Sharing Faces,” a mirror that reflects your expression in a different person captured around the world. McDonald, a media artist based in Brooklyn, used a megapixel surveillance camera and custom software to match the face locations of the person looking at the screen. As the person moves, new images are pulled from the database matching the new location, creating a mirror-like image of yourself using the images of others.
The project captured photos of people looking into the mirror in Anyang, Korea and Yamaguchi, Japan, spanning an eight-month time period beginning in October 2013. Each person who looked into the mirror at either location would see their expression matched by a person who had also stood in front of the mirror. Thousands of people visited the work, and saw themselves reflected in the face of another person.
McDonald’s mesmerizing mirror work was inspired by the idea of the connectedness of all people. The artist’s idea sprouted in 2007, when he was moved by the Roman story of Sabine. According to legend, the Roman men stole women from the neighboring Sabine tribe and made the Sabine women their wives. When the two tribes went to war later, the Sabine women ran onto the battlefield and stopped the war by reminding everyone that there were all literally brothers.
McDonald’s “Sharing Faces” indeed shows how connected we all are, as we’re able to look into the mirror and see our expressions mirrored by a different person in a different place. The significance of using Korea and Japan as locations for the installation encourages people to think about their similarities, despite the two countries’ complex and often contentious relations.
McDonald is a media artist who works in the open with code. He is a contributor to arts-engineering toolkits like openFrameworks, and he builds tools that allow artists to use new algorithms in creative ways. McDonald often shares ideas and projects in public before they’re completed. His innovative work is commissioned by and shown at exhibitions and festivals around the world, including: Arts Electronica, OFFF, Eyebeam, Anyang Public Art Project, Cinekid, CLICK Festival, NODE Festival and FITC, among others.