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Lea Laura Michelsen

PhD Student

Lea Laura Michelsen

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THE ART OF DISAPPEARING:
MASKS AND BIOPOLITICAL RESISTANCE IN A CONTEXT OF DIGITAL BIOMETRICS

Project summary
Biometrics is commonly understood as a group of technologies that are able to identify subjects from features such as faces, fingerprints, gait, heart rate, brain activity, body odor, and DNA. Usually, biometrics are associated with surveillance and security at national borders, in airports, schools, and shopping malls. But many of us are in contact with biometrics on a daily basis when we use social media apps like Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat, and FaceApp. When we use social media to process our faces¾generating seemingly innocent beauty effects, cute masks, bunny ears, Bambi eyes, and customized panda animojis¾we do not necessarily think about the underlying apparatus at play.

In my PhD Project, I explore the art of disappearing—a group of contemporary artists whose investigations and criticisms of biometrics are as theoretically up to date and qualified as present humanistic researchers'. With different types of masking—shiny pink-bubbly plastic masks, DNA spoofing, invisibility sprays, “fake face”-generating textiles and DIY toolkits, dazzle make-up, silver-plated anti-drone invisibility coats, and “fucking didactic educational .MOV files"—they attempt to disappear and resist biometric identification.

More specifically, the project investigates in what ways these masks and disappearance acts within the art of disappearing thematize and articulate a biopolitical resistance to algorithmically guided biometrics.

 

PhD fellow in the the research program Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology.

Part of the research group ADA (Analysis of Digital Aesthetics).

Guest editor at NJA (Nordic Journal of Aesthetics).


Teaching

2019: The art of disappearing – Resistance and masking strategies in contemporary digital art

2018: Aesthetic Communication (instructor) 

 

 

 

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