Failed Project 001: Unnamed
During my Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship (2014-2017) I was introduced to the brilliant neuropsychologist Elizabeth Warrington who over a 60 year career has conducted many ground breaking experiments in the areas of visual object recognition, memory, and dementia. Warrington's work is often credited with helping shape the basis of modern-day cognitive psychology and many of her tests are still used today.
In one such experiment Warrington uses actor photographs from old Spotlight magazines from the 1980s to test facial recognition in patients who were suffering from brain injury or dementia. The test participants are shown the images to see if they can still recognise faces, or portraits are repeated to see if the patient recognises someone they've seen before. Such a simple method goes a long way to identifying what areas of the brain are affected by the patient's trauma or illness.
I used the images from the experiment for a series of portraits that attempted to reflect visually on what it means to not recognise a face. To create the pictures, I processed the original images through the photos app on my MacBook and took a screenshot of when the A.I. 'recognised' a face in the photo. I then processed the screenshot through photoshop in the 'content aware' function. I used the circle created by the photos app around the recognised face as my 'content aware' area and then let the A.I. go to work - where it then failed to effectively fill in the highlighted content. What's left are a series of haunting and poignant abstracted portraits that I think are quite appealing.
I still really love these images but at the time no one else did. In fact at a meeting with a well-known curator they were dismissed with contempt. If you disagree with that internationally acclaimed expert then please feel free to let me know by activating the heart icon on the pictures. If you don't then please keep your opinions to yourself and console yourself with the fact that you're in good company. I thank you.
Next in my Failed Proposals section I'll be presenting a ridiculous proposal that I sent in for a small commission in Berlin that involved a warehouse, a huge 50ft high green screen, a scaffold and a small glass tumbler.