Saving Face

Performance & Installation
Venice Biennale - Beijing - Amsterdam - Istanbul - Stockholm - Berlin-Dessau - Zwolle - Utrecht
Supported by Media Fund, SICA NLTR 400, Mondriaan Fonds , Festival aan de Werf Utrecht, MediaFonds@Sandberg. Technical development with Sylvain Vriens, Tim Olden, Matthijs ten Berge, Mart van Bree, Beamsystems.

56th Venice Biennale, 2015 - China Pavillion
Curator BCAF Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation with
Susa Pop, Connecting Cities Network Berlin

Best Practice Award 2013
Virtueel Platfom/Het Nieuwe Instituut

Exhibitions /Performances / Conference Lectures 2014-2017
Performances take place in time slots. Exhibitions show
reflexive data environment (generative database and documentation).

2015, 56th Venice Art Biennale: China Pavillion
- Curators: Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation BCAF;
Connecting Cities Network Berlin

2015 - 2016 Museum BCAC Beijing
- Curators: Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation BCAF;
Connecting Cities Network Berlin

2012 TASIE 3rd Art and Science Exhibition and Symposium Beijing
- Curator: Zhang Ga, Tsinghua University, China
- Art, Science & Technology Museum Beijing
2013 Connecting Cities / Public art lab Berlin
- Curator: Susa Pop
- Shows: Bauhaus Dessau connected to Ars Electronica
2012 Festival aan de Werf Utrecht, Netherlands
- Curator: Rainer Hofmann
2013 TASML artists in residency / TsingHua University Beijing
- Curator: Zhang Ga
2015 Holland Festival / De Balie Amsterdam, 'Stadsleven'
- Curator: Tracy Metz
2013 Zwolle Gemeente Museum - Curator: Adriaan de Regt
2015 'Play Perform Participate' University Utrecht. Conference & show.
- Curators: Dr. Chiel Kattenbelt & Dr. Nanna Verhoeff (Urban Interfaces Research Group)
2011 ISEA Istanbul & Istanbul Art Biennale - Curator: Lanfranco Aceti 2011 Urban Screens Seminar 'Screening the City'
- Curator: Intsitute for Network Cultures
2011 Iaspis Stockholm - Curator: Laura Mott
2012 TEDX Silkroad Istanbul - Curator: Ferhan Cook
2012 European EIC ICT labs: 'Mediated presence group'
- Initiated by Prof D. F. Brazier, Dr. N. Nevejan, Dr. C. Gullström
- Universities for Technology Delft, Eindhoven, Stockholm (KTH)

2014 Beamlab, De Zwijger Amsterdam 2015 Symposium 'Dutch Touch': Tangible User Interaction and Computer Science
- by Gijs Huisman and Prof Jan van Erp / University Twente
2012 Conference & Masterclass 'Wireless Stories'
- by Sandberg Institute & Media Fonds

[A small, intimate ritual to reflect on big techno-social changes ]

How do we trust each other online?
Do you need to see my eyes? Or do we need to touch?

The artists: “When we meet in the public domain, we trust each other based on reciprocal body language, face-to-face connection, and touch. However, tele-presence technologies extend our bodies beyond biological boundaries in time and space, but prevent us from touching. In today's social structures, sensory experiences are increasingly replaced by identity scanning technologies, such as surveillance, bio print, eye scanning, behavior- and face-recognition technology. In the digital public domain, we are faced with the paradox of ‘the higher surveillance, the lower trust’. How do we experience our bodies and identities, technically being measured and turned into fixated, controllable ‘products’? How does this interfere with our identities as social constructs, emerging, in process, while interacting with others? Can touch based perception play a role in 'tele-matic trust'? Can I touch you online?”

Can Touching be the new Scanning? The artists deconstruct and turn around control technologies, to facilitate intimate meeting experiences: “Saving Face is an experimental technological bio-feedback system for a poetic meeting-through-touching ritual. With the help of a personal Touching Face Scan, participants caress their own faces, to connect online with family, friends and strangers worldwide. In Saving Face, we are digitally tangible and visible for each other, in a relational process, a ‘social sculpture’; to endlessly meet, caress, mirror and merge.”

Saving Face proposes to 'touch your face as a social interface', for:
A Smart City Meeting Ritual: 1. Come close 2. Caress your face 3. Merge and Mirror

The ritual includes an interactive city sculpture with a camera and face-recognition technologies, connected to an urban screen. In front of the camera, you are invited to caress your face. By caressing your face you ‘paint’ your portrait on the screen, where it appears and then slowly merges with the portraits of previous visitors. The portraits merge further through every face-caressing act of following participants, co-creating transparent, untraceable, fluid, networked identities. Each composed identity is saved into a user generated database, to be printed as a Saving Face Passport.

In dynamic public spaces such as museum hall or city square, all co-created identities appear on screen as ’digital personas’, sharing with us our contemporary public domain. When travelling to various geographical and cultural contexts, SF playfully connects - both online and offline - different personal historical and cultural backgrounds. Participants in cities worldwide ‘Tele-Touch’ each other to meet.

The portrait on screen is part of a social process. Within the tradition of the composed and 'morfing' portrait, the artists orchestrate 'a social process to create a portrait'. This process connects the physical ‘realness’ we feel when touching our faces - to the interaction with a virtual identity. Each identity on screen appears as a digital ‘persona' in our contemporary public domain.
In a posthuman process for a social construct to emerge, this digital synaesthetic persona emerges in the process of merging with others, as an alternative selfie.

Art, Science & Technology Saving Face emerged from our artistic research that we further conducted at Delft University of Technology in the context of Lancel’s PhD trajectory (Promotores: Prof. dr. Frances Brazier, Dr. Caroline Nevejan). To inspire and rethink sustainable socio-technical ecological systems, the artists deconstruct and connect automated control technologies (such as surveillance, social media, self-quantifying biometric technologies and brain computer interfaces) to human acts of intimacy, tacit knowledge, sensory and aesthetic perception - to explore a digital-synesthetic 'trust-system'.

[ I am part of the networks and the networks are part of me
... I link, therefore I am.' William J. Mitchell ]

Concept with Mathijs ten Berge, European IET ICT Presence Lab
Supported by Media Fonds, SICA NLTR 400, Mondriaan Fund,
Festival aan de Werf Utrecht, MediaFonds@Sandberg, Dutch Consulate Beijing, Dutch Embassy Berlin
Sponsoring: Holland Screen, DidiTAXI Beijing, Apple
Production Mart van Bree Technical Realisation Sylvain Vriens, Tim Olden Jason Saragih's opensource Facetracker library / Kyle McDonald.*

Press & Publications:
1) Nanna Verhoeff, Clancy Wilmott, 'Curating the city: Urban interfaces and Locative media as experimental platforms for cultural data', 116-129 in Rob Ktiching and Sung-Yueh Perng (eds.) Code and the City. London: Routledge, 2016
2) New Media Research Essay: 'Urban Social Spaces,Tactical Media in the Hybrid City', page 16, author: Katia Truijen, Mediamatic Amsterdam
3) ARTSPY 2015 Beijing
4) World Radio China Interview: 'Save Your Faces with Mine',
at BCAC Beijing Culture and Art Center by Zheng Yunfeng, Vincent. 2016.
In depth interview about Saving Face audience experience, artist's intension, hosting, (technical) concepts and future plans.

5) NECSUS, European Journal of Media Studies Spring 2014_'Traces',
by Nanna Verhoeff & Heidi Rae Cooley 'The navigational gesture:
Traces and tracings at the mobile touchscreen interface'

6) Arte Creative TV, Saving Face at Connecting Cities 2013
7) Holland Festival /'Stadsleven' 2015 by Tracy Metz, Lecture Lancel/Maat
8) Holland Festival / Stadsleven 2015 by Tracy Metz: Online Catalogue
9) China ZHUANGSHI journal for Art and Design / Tsinghua University Beijing. 2012. TASIE Art, Science and Technology exhibition-conference 2012
10) Art blog 'Creators Project': 'Ik scande mijn gezicht door het te strelen' by Eva Oosterveld
11) DOTS Magazine for iPads #3, by Shevia Limmen
‘Touching the Face as social Interface’.
12) Art Catalogue TASIE 2013 3rd Art & Science International Exhibition, Symposium Beijing, China.
13) Publication Art Research Group ‘Image in context’
Minerva Art Academy / Hanze University for Applied Sciences Groningen.
Authors Lancel/Maat: ‘The artists as a host’

14) Newspaper article: NRC Handelsblad 2011. By Tracy Metz.
‘Een gezicht samengesteld uit honderden gezichten‘

15), by 'Living Art Network "action - face"'