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Culture

Face Tracking Tech Lets This Artwork Stare at You

Ivor Diosi's award-winning 'The Qualia' series imagines artworks as having "perception of their own."
26 January 2015, 5:40pm
Screencap via

QUALIA live interaction from Qualia Project on Vimeo.

What if artworks had awarenesses of their own? In The Qualia, they do: trippy cyberscapes on interactive screens with built-in optical face tracking technology transform according to their viewers' gazes.

Bearing “a symbolic grain of sentience,” as described by media artist and creator Ivor Diosi, the project imagines a gallery of works that turn observers into the observed. “Our perception of art is overwhelmingly driven by factors like where a work is displayed and who is viewing it," he states. “The evolution of modern art if anything has conditioned viewers to adopt the position that they can and ought to assign an interpretation of their own preference to any and all art. The Qualia project aims to turn this status quo around by empowering the artworks with perception of their own.”

The term "qualia" comes from the Latin word that asks “what sort” or “what kind,” but the project expounds on that definition in order to explore how an autonomous entity feels pain, sees color or hears music, explains Diosi. The artworks become different to each viewer, almost as if they were living beings with their own needs and desires.

Check out more footage of The Qualia below:

QUALIA frames vignette from Qualia Project on Vimeo.

As a selection for the Lumen Prize 2014 World Tour, The Qualia has traveled Cardiff, London, Athens, and New York, and is currently stationed in Amsterdam.

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