queer

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The success of today’s booming biometrics industry resides in its promise to rapidly measure an objective, truthful, and core identity from the surface of a human body, often for a mixture of commercial, state, and military interests. Yet, feminist communications scholar Shoshana Amielle Magnet has described this neoliberal enterprise as producing “a cage of information,” a form of policing, surveillance, and structural violence that is ableist, classist, homophobic, racist, sexist, and transphobic.

Project Created: 
January 2014
 
People: Zach Blas
Tags: queer, technology
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Facial Weaponization Suite protests against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate–by making “collective masks” in community-based workshops that are modeled from the aggregated facial data of participants, resulting in amorphous masks that cannot be detected by biometric facial recognition technologies. The masks are used for public interventions and performances. One mask, the Fag Face Mask, generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men’s faces, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques. Another mask explores a tripartite conception of blackness, divided between biometric racism (the inability of biometric technologies to detect dark skin), the favoring of black in militant aesthetics, and black as that which informatically obfuscates.

Project Created: 
October 2013
 
People: Zach Blas
Tags: queer, technology
Hours: 
6:30PM - 9:30PM*
Cost: 
$0-$50 Sliding Scale
Venue: 
Eyebeam
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Explore mask-making as a queer and feminist resistance practice against emerging forms of biometric facial recognition.  In this 3-session workshop, we will discuss how biometrics, specifically facial recognition software, subjects women and various non-normative, minoritarian persons to precarity and violence. We will also use masks to think about practices of concealment (such as wearing a veil or burqa) that trouble the societal logic that visibility leads to liberation. 

During our first meeting, we will discuss the social and political impact of biometric technologies in global and local contexts as well as imperceptible revolt tactics and feminism through pre-circulated readings.

 
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