Biometric Mirror

Lucy McRae
& Dr Niels Wouters

Artificial intelligence’s perspective of facial perfection

The visitor becomes the protagonist in the installation, Biometric Mirror by sci-fi artist and body architect Lucy McRae and Dr Niels Wouters, an action researcher in human-computer interaction and digital ethics, originally commissioned by Science Gallery Melbourne. Visitors enter a spongy, temple of tech; here to worship an algorithm that observes them, psycho-analyses them and generates mathematically “perfect” versions of their faces, exposing both the accuracy and flaws of facial recognition algorithms. Based on an algorithm developed by Dr Niels Wouters, the work questions whether we should cuddle up to AI’s promise to detect and protect, or rather distance ourselves from a system that monitors us day and night in an attempt to preserve our privacy and personal space.

Lucy McRae is a science fiction artist, filmmaker and body architect. Her work speculates on the future of human existence by exploring the limits of the body, beauty, biotechnology and the self. McRae works across installation, film, photography, artificial intelligence and edible technology. She is regarded as a thought leader who is exploring the cultural and emotional impacts science and technology have on redesigning the body. Lucy uses art as a mechanism to signal and provoke our ideologies and ethics about who we are and where we are headed. She has exhibited at Science Museum London, Centre Pompidou and will exhibit at Venice Biennale, May 2021. Regarded as a pioneer who blurs the boundaries across art, architecture, design and technology Lucy has a healthy disregard for labels that limit transdisciplinary practice.

Dr Niels Wouters is a Research Fellow in the Interaction Design Lab at the University of Melbourne, and Head of Research and Emerging Practice for Science Gallery Melbourne. His action-based research practice in human-computer interaction explores the (un)democratic use of new and emerging technologies. Niels’ work is regularly featured in national and international media, highlighting the impact of technology on urban life. Niels has a PhD in Architectural Engineering and degrees in Architectural Design, Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction.