Unseen Portraits 2

An investigation of face recognition algorithms for Science Gallery Dublin

Unseen Portraits 2 Booth at Science Gallery Dublin

Commissioned by Science Gallery Dublin for their exhibition SEEING, Unseen Portraits 2 is an adaption of our original Unseen Portraits project:

Computer vision relies on algorithms to make sense of the world. Unseen Portraits investigates what face recognition algorithms consider to be a human face. How much do you have to deform someone’s features to make them invisible to a machine?

Portrait photos of visitors are distorted on a screen. A surveillance camera films the distortion. It uses facial recognition software to scan the camera footage for faces while the image becomes more and more obscured.

Unseen Portraits at Science Gallery Dublin
Comparison of a visitors' initial project (left) and their unseen portrait (right).

The moment the photo becomes too warped and the face can't be recognised by the algorithm anymore, the software takes a screenshot. The visitor is now invisible to computer vision.

Printed Unseen Portraits at Science Gallery Dublin
Visitors can print their unseen portrait and take it home.

Portraits are uploaded to an online gallery and can be printed for visitors to take home. Visitors had great fun with the exhibit and created ~ 20.000 unique portraits over the course of the exhibition. Someone even put their photo to the test: and it worked.

SEEING is open from 24.06.16 to 25.09.16 at Science Gallery Dublin. Afterwards, the exhibition is set to tour internationally.


Concept & Development: Philipp Schmitt & Stephan Bogner
Client: Science Gallery Dublin
Modelmaking: Jan-Micha Gamer
Matrix Transformation Math: Hartmut Bohnacker
Tools: Processing, Ani
Face Recognition Algorithm: OpenCV