These modern art barcodes remind me of facial-recognition camouflage and that’s kinda cool

HuffPo recently profiled Russian multimedia artist Dmitry Morozov and his most recent interactive installation, “Post Code.”

Morozov created an artistically inclined mechanism that scans the barcodes of various objects, turning the encoded digits into post-card sized works of glitch art. Along with visual translations, the mechanism also retrieves the melodic beeps and hums hidden within the codes, extracting from the simple swipe-happy bars unique combinations of both sound and sight. Morozov created an artistically inclined mechanism that scans the barcodes of various objects, turning the encoded digits into post-card sized works of glitch art. Along with visual translations, the mechanism also retrieves the melodic beeps and hums hidden within the codes, extracting from the simple swipe-happy bars unique combinations of both sound and sight.

It’s an interesting methodology (can you use “methodology” for art?) and as a legit GIScience/dataViz nerd, I’m intrigued. Translating musical patterns from an auditory to a non-notated visual medium is especially nifty and I wonder about how one might develop an analogous method for incorporating non-spatial, qualitative data into a GIS to better represent emotional geographies. Anyway, the article goes on the describe the artist’s concept:

Morozov frees the barcodes from their solely digital existence, blessing them with a physical form — and a beautiful one at that. As the artists writes on his website, “”Thus, such exclusively digital object [sic] becomes means of obtaining an artifact, suitable for archaic, but ultimately human mode of communication — a postcard.”

I’m not going lie. I don’t really get it but I can at least appreciate it from a design perspective. The images of the transformed UPCs immediately brought to my mind a story I read in Wired a few years ago about how another visual artist developed a method to transform faces with paint as camouflage to defeat facial recognition software. The artist explains,

The name [CV Dazzel] is derived from a type of World War I naval camouflage called Dazzle, which used cubist-inspired designs to break apart the visual continuity of a battleship and conceal its orientation and size. Likewise, CV Dazzle uses avant-garde hairstyling and makeup designs to break apart the continuity of a face. Since facial-recognition algorithms rely on the identification and spatial relationship of key facial features, like symmetry and tonal contours, one can block detection by creating an “anti-face”.

Look N° 5 (a,b,c)

Look N° 5 (a,b,c)

Look N° 1

I’m not so sure how effective the “anti-face” would be at avoiding scrutiny in the security line at the airport. Something tells me that these looks, while laudably effective at sticking it to Big Brother, would probably just earn someone a “random” search. In any case, both the barcode transformation and fashion resistance concepts caught my fancy and each is definitely worth checking out further.

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