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Algorithmic Facial Image: Regimes of truth and datatication

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  • Emanuele Nicolo Andreoli
The paper approaches the face as one of the most relevant and controversial bio-techno-political battlefield. Specifically, it tries to unfold the implications of the evolving processes of ‘machinization’ of the face related to the development of a number of tracking technologies that are nowadays reaching the mainstream public – from iPhone X unlocking by recognizing the face of its owner , to a new Mastercard technology allowing payment by tracking users’ faces , to app such as MSQRD and Face Stealer which allow users to modify their facial traits by assuming the ones of somebody else . If bio-tracking technologies such as the security face-tracking technologies named above are based on the idea that one’s face is unique and not replicable, the amount of entertaining face-tweaking apps available on the market seems to suggest exactly the opposite – face is trackable, its features tweakable, and its uniqueness hackable. Thus, the face turns into the site where contradictory regimes of truth coexist and feed each other in a form which keeps an appearance of immediacy while hiding layers of algorithmic complexity. This new regime of visibility related to the face brings along a paradoxical regime of truth. But how does this new regime of truth relate to processes of ‘datification’ and value extraction? The paper argues that from a hermeneutic perspective the art of circulationism and data extraction seems to lie on this ambivalence: the more immediate an image / information looks the more its networking value grows, the more a number of extractive practices are implemented behind its surface – or right on it, such as in the case of face tracking technologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalA Peer-Reviewed Journal About
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2018

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