Ocean_v1, faces database

Masayuki Akamatsu

Ocean_v1 by Masayuki Akamatsu and Wolf Nkole Helzle is a computer screen with a video camera on the top, that records the face of the person in front of it. As well as the facial details, it notes any movements made by the person. On the screen, a continual rush of faces are displayed, sometimes as many as sixty per second. With a database of over 15,000 faces it can select those that are most similar to that of the viewer. When the work is installed, the artists photograph the visitors to the gallery and enter them into the database so that even they are absorbed into the collection. Ocean_v1 is quite literally, a vast ocean of humanity from which it is possible to draw out the similarities between human beings as the faces on the screen begin to coalesce together. The familiar nose that we observe in the mirror everyday is shown back to us from a multiple of faces that we may never have even met. The database, instead of de-humanising us and making us feel as though we are just a collection of data, shows how we are all connected in so many different ways. Perhaps it takes a machine sometimes to show us how these genetic markers connect us all across continents and race.

Mark R Hancock