Dávid Biró: Do You Accept Cookies?
22 • 07 • 07Dávid Biró
The photography grant created for commemorating the photographer, professional writer and photography teacher József Pécsi (1889–1956), was founded by the Ministry of Culture and Education in 1991. Its purpose is to help to start the career, creative work, and development of talented photographers working as independent artists, and to provide them with favorable conditions for the creation of high-quality artworks which are modern both in terms of form and content.
Few things are as exclusively our own as our face. One of the most fundamental elements of our identity is at once the most intimate and yet the most public part of ourselves: we almost never cover this part of our body, even when entering a public space; in some countries, covering the face is even a punishable offense. So, we have an apparent obligation to be identifiable when we show up somewhere. But how far does the obligation to be identifiable extend, and where does the monitoring of people slip into unlawful and authoritarian surveillance?
Dávid Biró’s work Do You Accept Cookies? examines the mechanisms of facial recognition systems. The series could hardly be more topical, as the face is taking over the role of the fingerprint thanks to the latest technologies. More and more people are using phones that can be unlocked by scanning their face, and cameras in public places are increasingly using facial recognition for crime prevention and law enforcement reasons.
Biró creates installations that imitate faces, experimenting with what the human eye, and what the cellphone camera’s algorithm identifies as a face. Among other things, he attempts to identify blind spots in facial recognition technology and circumvent the system through various hacks. In the meantime, he brings into play the ethics of observation and being observed, which is without exaggeration one of the most important dilemmas of our time.