Reversed Surveillance

  • Dates
    2023 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Location France, France

Starting from a 3 hour long livestream of a recent French protest, the artist uses the software ‘Video Content Analysis’ to analyse the crowd and discern over 30 000 people’s faces.

In January 2023, the French government passed a bill allowing the use of Algorithmic Video Surveillance as a legal crowd controlling measure for any gathering of more than 300 people. This technology is put in place to automate the process of detecting crime. Instead of focusing on identity recognition, emotion recognition aims to read emotional states. AI is trained to detect, analyse, and decode human behavioural patterns associated with emotions.

Starting from a 3 hour long livestream of a recent French protest, the artist uses the software ‘Video Content Analysis’ to analyse the crowd and discern over 30 000 people’s faces.

With the use of an AI trained to recognise 7 facial expression associated with emotions, the artist categorises the protestors based on the emotional state they were assigned by the AI.

The project is the visualisation of how AI interprets a protest.

Though this technology has been widely used by companies to monitor their employees, there is currently no record of emotion recognition being used in decisions affecting protestors.

The continuously evolving nature of surveillance technologies, combined with the normalisation derived by the ease with which these are introduced on a legislative level, poses a threat to the right of assembly, protest, and speech. This becomes extremely threatening when the technology is given the task to decode something of human nature, and the outcomes used to make decisions based on probability rather than events.

In the end Top creates a facial recognition tool to identify police officers during protest. By harnassing the power of surveillance technolgies Top tries to create new tools to expose the danger of these technolgies as wel as to use it at our own advantege.

© Marcel Top - Emotional analysis by AI of protestors
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Emotional analysis by AI of protestors

© Marcel Top - Over 30 000 collected faces
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Over 30 000 collected faces

© Marcel Top - Emotional analysis by AI of protestors
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Emotional analysis by AI of protestors

© Marcel Top - Ai analysis of "angry" protestors
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Ai analysis of "angry" protestors

© Marcel Top - 3D models of facial emotion expression
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3D models of facial emotion expression

© Marcel Top - Emotional analysis of a police officer during a protest
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Emotional analysis of a police officer during a protest

© Marcel Top - Object recognition software trained on police units
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Object recognition software trained on police units

© Marcel Top - Object recognition software trained on police units
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Object recognition software trained on police units

© Marcel Top - Object recognition software trained on police units
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Object recognition software trained on police units

© Marcel Top - Collection of police officers for training of an object recognition tool
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Collection of police officers for training of an object recognition tool

© Marcel Top - Facial recognition points on police officers
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Facial recognition points on police officers

© Marcel Top - Police officers face with RIO number
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Police officers face with RIO number

© Marcel Top - Use of facial recognition to identify the RIO number of a police officer
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Use of facial recognition to identify the RIO number of a police officer

© Marcel Top - Code used for facial recognition
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Code used for facial recognition

© Marcel Top - Police officers faces linked to their RIO number
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Police officers faces linked to their RIO number

© Marcel Top - Facial recognition points
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Facial recognition points