social hacking computer vision

our final assignment is to use computer vision techniques. i have two ideas:

  1.  an IRL game where we use our “meat eyes” (trevor paglen’s evocative words) to see like a computer
  2.  something about the history of photography, which has to do with the history of the mugshot, phrenology, and the practice of reading criminality on the body. some of the face tracking diagrams remind me of cesare lombroso’s face measurements:

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unfinished thoughts:

i’ve been thinking about trevor paglen on meat eyes. in a recent talk, he said: “most of the images made in the world are made by machines, for other machines, and human eyes are not in the loop.” what is an image if we can’t see it? is there a way for our meat eyes to see the output of computer vision processes in a way that doesn’t interfere?

are we externalizing our brain when we try to make a computer see like we see? or, rather, to make a computer translate what it sees into something we can see? if our visual systems, in our brains, evolved from needs in our environments, needs that computers don’t share, and we are now building systems to replicate those visual systems with inorganic parts, isn’t that interesting?

like construction machines that mirror body parts. the way diggers look like arms with scooping hands at the ends. what does it do to have a bunch of body parts with no brain, only their own affordances, roaming around the city? to have these disembodied arms everywhere, digging stuff up and making holes for condos to go in? what about these disembodied computer eyes? to whom do they belong? where is their brain?

last but not least, john berger in ways of seeing: “we only see what we look at… every image embodies a way of seeing.”

need to come back to these:
the brain’s visual processing system
john berger’s ways of seeing
kyle mcdonald’s notes on computer vision

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