How Refugees Are Changing "The Face" of the Netherlands

In a compelling reimagining of data viz, Jeroen van der Most shows the effect 100,000 Syrian refugees has on the averaged face of the Dutch citizen.
10 October 2015, 12:30pm
All images courtesy the artist

Recently, Dutch artist Jeroen van der Most launched his new project, The Average Face, where he visualizes how the possible influx of 100,000 Syrian refugees may affect the average Dutch face. He created a tool where you can calculate the new face of a region, based on how far you live from a refugee center.

"The faces I've made are from hundreds of photos from Google, both Syrians and Dutch. With an algorithm, I first collected the photos and cropped them, and then I put them through facial recognition, to make them superimposed. I got an 'average' Dutch and Syrian face. Then you can push the two mixes with different percentages. For example, the new Dutch face is a mixture of 1 to 170, or 100,000 refugees to 17 million Dutch. Based on refugee data and extrapolation techniques I visualized the effect of potential refugee inflow per country."

"Everyone loves averages," van der Most tells The Creators Project. "Whether you are for or against receiving refugees, grabbing statistics and percentages is something that is done to support the argument one way or another. Averages appeal, when in fact they just say very little." The Average Face is intended to show a different way to think about the often alienating matter in a more personal way. Check out some of the results below:

To learn more abour The Average Face project click here.


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