Unleash Your Herd's Potential

Considering precision livestock farming, the project takes cattle as an animal broken to the algorithm, and addresses the issues of surveillance, exploitation and our relationship to nature.

Considering precision livestock farming, the project Unleash Your Herd’s Potential takes cattle as an animal broken to the algorithm and reflects on surveillance, exploitation and our relationship to nature.

Utilizing computer vision, artificial intelligence and robotics, today’s automated dairy farm functions as a new kind of panopticon in which animals are subject to continuous digital monitoring. While free to move autonomously within the facilities, they spend their entire life in a closed system and actively participate in their exploitation in return for rewards. The extensive technology infrastructure enables quantifying all aspects of the cows’ life; hence, it allows to treat each individual of the herd as a mere dataset in line with the idea of 360-degree customer view. Therefore, precision dairy farming can be regarded as an example of surveillance capitalism applied to animals, and a new means of consolidating the distance between human and non-human entities through virtualization and gamification.

Unleash Your Herd’s Potential addresses these issues by rendering cows and their environment using photogrammetry, a 3D-scanning technique originally developed for cartography and surveying. Employing this method enables the representation of the subject as a cloud of information - the creation of an exploded view - while lending the images a pointillist, painterly appearance. This results in a work characterized by a 21st-century bucolic imagery in which the datafied existence of animals belongs to an increasingly technological landscape perceived through digital means.

© Daniel Szalai - Cow 0650 Resting

Cow 0650 Resting

© Daniel Szalai - Carousel Milking Parlour

Carousel Milking Parlour

© Daniel Szalai - Portrait of Manon

Portrait of Manon

© Daniel Szalai - Milking Parlour Interior

Milking Parlour Interior

© Daniel Szalai - Milking Machine Attached to Udder

Milking Machine Attached to Udder

© Daniel Szalai - Cow 7141 Resting

Cow 7141 Resting

© Daniel Szalai - Milking Parlour Building

Milking Parlour Building

© Daniel Szalai - Cow 8060 After Milking

Cow 8060 After Milking

© Daniel Szalai - Hose


© Daniel Szalai - Cow 0267 Standing

Cow 0267 Standing

© Daniel Szalai - Automated Sorting Gate

Automated Sorting Gate

© Daniel Szalai - Cow 0158 Eating

Cow 0158 Eating

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