Arts and Design

Facial recognition technology encourages empathy through art

How do we feel when someone blinks with our eyes? Smiles with our lips? Then, tells their own story.

Using the latest in interactive gaming and facial recognition technology, QUT’s The Cube artist-in-residence has captured a virtual mirror in her project called Echo.

Georgie Pinn’s exhibition is on show at The Cube from April 24-28 2017.

“The project investigates concepts of empathy, narrative, and connection through shared identity,” Ms Pinn said.

“We’ve collected and researched personal stories and these narratives have been integrated into the experience so you literally see through someone else’s eyes in the virtual mirror.

“Through the mirror, storytellers confide in the viewer, revealing moments of their lives where they have suffered or overcome hardship.

“As their narrative unfolds the features of the participant’s face slowly morph into the protagonist’s face, driving your features with their expressions, and leaving you placed firmly in their shoes.

“This intimate experience enables the viewer to relate and shift their perceptions.”

The multi-media artist said the aim of Echo was to break down prejudices and induce empathy.

“As the world becomes more complex and connected, the role of empathy becomes more and more important to avoid social isolation and conflict,” she said.

“In the future the project will continue to build a culturally diverse archive of stories and identities with the intention of finding a new personalised, emotive tool to connect people and tackle the epidemic of loneliness of our digital age.”

The Cube’s studio manager Sean Druitt said it was a unique display that was 12 weeks in the making.

Mr Druitt said QUT game development students were brought into the project as employees to help build the code.

“The Cube is a huge canvas to showcase Echo and is a rare blend of facial recognition technology and art,” he said.

Echo is on show until Friday April 28 2017.

The Cube consists of 48 multi-touch screens soaring across two levels and is a hub for scientific and digital exploration.

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