Niels Bonde Who’s Afraid of Face Recognition?

30/11/2023 - 06/01/2024

Asbaek gallery 

The artist’s interest in light and color is evident from the get-go, but the exhibition is also in many ways a logic extension of the artist’s earlier work using hacking as a strategy in the early 90s as well as his work with surveillance when it was still considered a science fiction. Now, Bonde critically examines face recognition as yet another type of surveillance through a number of pixelated, low-res images and portraits.
The technology behind face recognition is able to match a human face from a digital image or video against a database of faces, and Bonde compares this to phrenology, an influential discipline in the 19th century, in which the confirmation of the skull was believed to be indicative of specific character traits.
Not unlike the father of phrenology, Dr. Gall, scientists at the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai have recently been working on an algorithm, which they claim can, with an accuracy of 90 %, predict if a person is a convicted criminal or delinquent. This transfer of power to algorithmic judgment does not only compromise our legal rights, it has the potential to impact our lives on both a personal, social, and institutional level.