Final Project Conclusion: Full Circle







Swappie Repository has finally been launched and exhibited. I had a lot of fun in the process of coming up with my final project and learnt a lot from research and my project hyperessays. Although this is the end of the Open Source Studio class, it certainly will not be the end of my swappie exploration. I feel that there’s still much that can be explored, learned and studied from swappies and that I have merely touched the surface of it in the given time that I had within the duration of this class.

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For now, I left my Swappie Repository with a gallery of swapped images of friends and reblogged images of celebrities. Possibly, in future, when I am better equipped with codes and javascript I would attempt to create the swapper again. I had found open source javascript codes for facial recognition online but lacked the knowledge and skills to appropriate said codes. I wasn’t able to create the swapper in time for the exhibition/project but I feel that a swapper would allow my audience to better understand the process – and go through the learning process and giggle with me. The swapper could be a page that launches a persons webcam, detect his/her facial features and swap it automatically. Currently, the process I went through was to manually select a public picture from my friends’ social networking sites and distort their faces on Photoshop one by one. It might have illustrated how I wanted my site and project to look like overall, but the way it is presented could have been better. Current site last updated 13 November, 2 pm.

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I updated the ABOUT section to include what swappie is and its aim to put into context what the audience is seeing in the repository/database. I left a hyperlink on Selfie city as the work had inspired me throughout my process. I consider my project unfinished at this stage and it could be worked on and developed more in the future. But then again, a work like this could never really be “finished”…


Overall, I feel like the process of creating this final project has came full circle; I started my exploration of identity remixing in digital culture and social media with the collective body exercise followed by the video selfie and then learnt about glitches. I wouldn’t have thought about the idea of using swappies as a tool to get people talking about identity and the internet if I hadn’t learnt about net art and participated in these class exercises. Blogging about the process and journey behind a creative work had never crossed my mind till I took this class.



Final Project Realisation: Swappie


One can argue that taking selfies is an empowering method of visual self-expression, because we savor the control that we have over the process of creating.Art is defined by the process of expression and revealing ourselves with intentionality.The power and deliberation with which we take selfies is what we enjoy so much about the artistic process. When you take a selfie, you self-construct an image; a visual self-documentation to express personal autonomy. Often shared and broadcasted through social media and networking sites, selfies and wefies (group selfies) has allowed the general public to reclaim photography as a source of empowerment in a way that has never been possible before.

Therefore, taking and posting selfies is a way for us to create culture by subtly countering the messages that the media distributes. Even when we don’t counter the messages, per se, we are, at the very least, still publicizing our response to them, because what’s more personal than a close-up of one’s own face? Although the selfie as an art form is a debatably valid categorization, one thing is certain: We, with our #selfie , #wefie and #ussie, are actively participating in a modern take on the historic art of portraiture.

“Selfies are part of the evolution of self-portraiture, because at one point in our lives, the concept of a selfie didn’t exist,”
Alondra Nelson, a Columbia Sociology Professor



Swappie is the post-selfie selfie; a self-portrait that somehow plays with, jokes about, undermines, or contradicts the usual purpose of the selfie. A selfie is supposed to be a recognizable, generally flattering, self-portrait. The selfie is not going away; it is a worldwide trend, as the recent international data project Selfie City showed. The post-selfie selfie acknowledges all of this and, one way or another, breaks some cardinal rule of the form.

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To achieve this, I initially thought I had to create a programme in which participants can create their own swappies. I had found some open source Javascript codes and approached Juan who was kind enough to create a codepen of it for me. Alas, my knowledge and experience in coding and programming language were close to nil and I couldnt figure how to change and appropriate it; except for the text button (haha -.-)
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Randall then suggested I could do away with the programme and work on it in future which was much to my relief. He also had suggested that I use Tumblr as a medium to publish my swappies in – theres the reblog, like and follow option which is great. I created my tumblr site and looked for #faceswap #swap and #facebomb to see what existing content there are on the tumblrsphere. I then reblogged a few people to fill my site with inspiration. What I found were mostly celebrities face mashed with other celebrities bodies. Nicholas Cage as a meme (as seen from the movie FaceOff) and One Direction appeared most.

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I then began on a quest to manually faceswap my friends public images stolen from their social networking accounts on Photoshop. The front-facing pictures work the best (as opposed to people looking sideways or tilting their face at an angle) and also photos with more than one person generates more interest in the subject; So thus the trolling on Facebook began…


…and so did the swappin’.


and soon my whole tumblr page was filled with swappies that I had created myself. Though I’m generally pleased with the layout and how the page looks like a virtual gallery, I was disatisfied looking at the amount of attention/interaction of people. I felt as though I’m posting content that people would not get to see unless they follow me and it appears on their dashboard. Friends viewed their own images on my site but couldn’t leave any comments. So I thought, maybe tumblr wasn’t the best creative outlet at all.

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I took my project back to where it all began: Facebook.

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I created and curated a page called Swappie – which thankfully reached a much higher viewing rating then my tumblr site. The highest number of likes and comments in 1 photo was of my friend and her boyfriend. According to her, her boyfriends face on her body resembled her younger brother; and apparently many of her friends enjoyed her “boyshort” hairstyle. LOL

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And sharanya also mentioned that her face swapped onto MJ’s body looked like her cousin. Who woud’ve thought!


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…and some even started to look like they were of another race/ethnicity.


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Generally, the comments a favourable and nobody had came forward or requested that I remove their pictures.

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In no time at all, the comments and likes came coming in and flooding my notifications- which is a good sign! Facebook worked better for my project then tumblr did cause it allowed me to tag my friends in the swappies – allowing both their friends and acquaintances to view them and also leave comments and allowed me to reach a broader audience.

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I would say all in all my project achieved what it set out to do; which is to introduce the post-selfie selfie and also to get peoples attention and get people talking about what they think about the byproducts.

P.s: Initially I wanted to remain anonymous and tell people I’m just the banksy of faceswapping but people soon found out it was me by word of mouth 🙁 but hey, at least people were curious enough to talk about it!


My tumblr gallery:
My swappie facebook page:

Project Hyperessay #3: Swappie Repository


With the world now being fascinated selfies as a form of self empowerment… and alternatively, in personal transformation, mutability of identity, role playing and masquerade on the internet, I present to you: Swappies (term coined by Randall Packer – Oct, 2014); a Repository. Swappies are essentially FaceSwaps a photoshop technique that involves digitally swapping the faces of two or more subjects depicted in a given photograph. With a swoppie, a person is deprived of the control posting a selfie would give. In fact, it gives zero control to what they would look like. In an infographic created by MediaBistro, it shows the top 6 things that people would retouch in their selfies before sharing them online; these are the factors posting a selfie can control as opposed to a swappie.

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According to Dr Rutledge, we enjoy opportunities to experiment with different identities – and the selfie allows just that. “We all want to be able to ‘try’ on a new image and imagine how we would feel as that part of ourselves,” she explains. The exact origin of face swapping is unknown. Two of the earliest known exploitable photoshop memes in the early 2000s, Asian Prince and Little Fatty, featured many examples in which the subject’s face was superimposed over someone else’s.
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On September 6th, 2004, the Internet humor site Something Awful posted a series of photoshopped images in which the faces of grandparents were swapped with babies they were holding.

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On November 1st, 2009, the Nic Cage as Everyone single topic blog was created, featuring curated photos with the face of actor Nicolas Cage swapped in. Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 12.16.31 PM

These images got people talking and caused a spike and increase in people searching for and talking about face swaps:

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As seen on the graph above, the peak of interest was in 2013 and the topic has since seen a decline in interaction. What i hope to do with my project is to make people react to swoppies. Seeing the above images, even though we don’t know and do not have any personal relations with the people pictured, we still react to a faceswapped image; we may find it funny, we may find it weird; whatever – as long as there IS a reaction.

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(my current tumblr site with reblogged images of swoppies floating around in tumblr) My project hopes to create a repository and database of swopped images. I would source images from social networking sites that are marked public and create a swappie out of their images. I would then invite them to have a look at the byproduct on my site. They can also choose to share these images on social networking sites such as facebook, twitter and flickr and also tag and comment on them. I’m also contemplating on creating a widget that would encourage people to create their own swoppies by activating their webcam using open-source javascript. (similar to CLMtrackr by Audun Øygard) I’ve found a GitHub repository with open-source codes: in relation to Face Substitution.

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Finding these open source files are the first step, next would be appropriating it – which i’m afraid I would run into problems with because i’ve never done any coding or programming before and they all look like they’re written in a foreign language. :/

However, in any case that programming doesn’t work out, I’d still think my project would be a success if my swoppies manage to grab the attention of viewers, get them to tag their friends, leave comments and share them with other people.

Research: Selfie City by Lev Manovich


Oxford Dictionaries named “selfie” as its word of the year as usage of the word had increased by 17000% over the past 12 months, said the publisher of the Oxford English Language Dictionary. The act of selfie-taking has been examined microscopically perhaps because its popularity seems to encompass what society thinks to be the ills of young: narcissism, over-sharing, and endless aping of celebrity culture. 

In Selfiecity, the selfie is treated as a form of self-expression of individual Instagram users as well as a communal and social practice. The research project considers both the individual artistic intentions of a singular image and the overall patterns revealed by large amount of selfies made in a particular geographic location during one week.

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Montage of selfies from Selfiecity

Selfiecity, which was just released by Lev Manovich is an immersive project that investigates and analyzes a sample of 3,200 selfies taken in New York, Moscow, Berlin, Bangkok, and Sao Paulo.


When popular media covers exceptional events such as social upheavals,
revolutions, and protests, typically they just show you a few professionally shot photographs
that focus on this moment of protest at particular points in the city. So we were wondering if
examining Instagram photos that were shared in the central part of Kiev would give us a
different picture. Not necessarily an objective picture because Instagram has its own biases and it’s definitely not a transparent window into reality, but would give us, let’s say, a
more democratic picture.

– Lev Manovich, interview with Randall Packer


It is rather interesting to compare the professionally shot pictures published by popular media and ones taken by amateurs/anyone with access to a camera/smartphone. This project gives us actual statistics, data science, data visualizations, and interactive information about selfies taken around the world. The images were then subject to high-level face analysis with the help of Orbeus Inc.’s software, sorting by the presence of visual cues like smiles, glasses, and orientation of the head. The result is a sophisticated data visualization.

The website invites visitors to inspect selfies and how to reconcile different approaches to the selfie — how to view the same images as data. Given the cultural popularity of the selfie and its rapid growth, computational social science may offer a better way to interpret modern self-portraiture than conventional psychology.

“While art historians traditionally would engage in a close reading of a singular image and practice formal analysis of a unique artifact, the current project instead focuses on patterns in a larger set of images, analyzing such features as pose, facial expression and mood,” writes Alise Tifentale, a researcher on the aesthetics of new media at CUNY.


Not only does SelfieCity offer findings about the demographics of people taking selfies (as well as information about their various poses and expressions, such as trends in their smiles), it also shares a variety of data visualizations (such as collages that overlay hundreds of selfies that share similar characteristics), and allows visitors to explore the entire photo collection, could reveal patterns or trends that ripple throughout selfie culture based on the demographics of the participants.

Manovich explains that, “the central point of this project is to say, let me produce as many interesting visualizations as I can, maybe select the most interesting, even juxtapose them, and then to basically say that it’s not that one is more true than another. Everyone views a different idea.”

I’ve never thought that selfie’s could be a source of data that can be extracted to reveal a larger picture; one that says a lot about life and real lives in an increasingly digital and ‘virtual’ culture. A study Manovich created called “cultural analytics,” looks at large at sets of social media data as a means of better understanding our changing culture through new media. I am amazed by the level of complexity and degree of user interactions and interactivity and see it as an inspiration for my Project hyperessay and final project which applies a similar concept.

I believe that the age of the selfie is not over – in fact, its only just beginning. Humans beings have never been able to not look at themselves. When we have #selfiefriday, #selfiesunday, #selfieoftheday, and #selfiesfordays, and surely someday soon, the hologram selfie, the data need never stop flowing. SelfieCity suggests these casual acts of self-love may tell analysts of the future not just where we were but where we were at.

Project Hyperessay #2: Self(ie) Obsessed


Reflecting back on my proposed concept for the final project, I realised I had created a faceswop in a selfie without realising it about a month ago in the video selfie. Of course, this didn’t have any technical aspects to it, just involved a mirror and some dolls. However, I guess the main idea of people hiding behind a virtual entity and are constantly trying to reinvent ourselves and how other people see us still stands the same; with fancy software or not. A global phenomenon of the modern era, the selfie has become known as the ultimate form of self-expression.

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Click here to (re)watch my video selfie from about a month ago

Rarely a documentary genre, self-portraits have always allowed us to craft an argument about who we are, convincing not only others, but also ourselves.

-Casey Sepp, PSmag: In praise of Selfies

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As a result researching more about selfies and how people can make and pass judgements about us based on the kind of photograph of ourselves we choose to publish into social media, I found Are You Your Selfie?created by Ballantine’s Whiskey. This selfie-centered website provides a viewer participatory experience asks curious netizens to upload your own selfies, with anonymous others then give your honest impression by answering a number of light-hearted, set questions of a strangers’ profile pictures.

As soon as others begin leaving their opinions, the person whose image has been uploaded is notified and will be able to view the most common “impressions” their image has left, ultimately seeing whether the way that others perceive them is in line with the way they see themselves. Users are then given the further option to share one or more of those “impressions” via a visual representation generated by the site on Facebook or Twitter, encouraging their friends to also take part in this unique social experiment.

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Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, commented: “Given the current trend for selfies amongst the millennial generation, we hope that this exciting initiative will stimulate conversation amongst Ballantine’s fans online and provoke them to think about whether they are presenting a true reflection of themselves when they share photos online. 

What I learnt from this is that my project could take the form of a website where users input in their own photos to be shared with other users. Although the website works using a simple clicking mechanism, it is effective in bringing out the intended message. At the end of the day, the website could be like a database of user-generated content centering selfies and faceswops.

Looking more into how I can use the web to create somewhat of an “online exhibition”, Juan had left me with a comment on my Project Hyperessay post #1 with an example; #futureself by Orange Mobile. This website is rather interesting but yet creepy at the same time. Future Self takes a picture of your face, “ages” you by 20 years and then lets you chat with your 2034 self..

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“We took photos of our subjects and used software to create digital avatars — half of which were aged with jowls, bags under the eyes, and gray hair. Wearing goggles and sensors, participants explored a virtual environment and came to a mirror that reflected either their current-self or future-self avatar.”
– Hal E. Hershfield, Marketing Professor

Other than a website, a smartphone app can also be used as seen on the FaceStealer App on the iPhone demonstrated in the video below:

Yahoo Japan released Face Stealer, which is an amusing app that uses augmented reality to replace your face with someone else’s. The app comes with a collection of pre-loaded faces for you to immediately swap in—from Obama to Einstein—but you can also choose to snap anyone’s photo and replace your face with theirs. The app works with any iOS device with a front-facing camera.

Referencing from all the above case studies, I realised that the project could reside entirely online. Although a physical space to conduct this project is not necessary; but would be good if there is one. Probably in the form of screens showing passers-by the content on the site and filming their reactions as they look through these images. In that way, we would be getting different results from different people by capturing their different reactions, we could do so through different mediums and can be used to address and relate to the issue of active and passive identities:

Dr Aaron Balick, a psychotherapist who has written a book about the human motivations behind social networking, explains that we have both “active online identities” and “passive online identities“. “A passive one is like when you search for yourself, or when friends post information about you – it’s your online identity that you have no control over,” he explains. “Active online identities are ones you can control, like a Facebook profile. “A selfie is an expression of an active online identity, something you have some control over. You might take lots, but you’ll publish the ones you like – even if they are silly or unflattering.”

Execution wise, my lack of knowledge and experience about coding apps or creating websites to do this would limit me. However, I came across a site for the codes for these faceswap technologies in an open-source databases. All in all, i like where my research is bringing my concepts and ideas; expanding my understanding of these terms and broadening my horizons on these topics. 🙂

In summary, I have identified the stages of user interaction in my Swopfie as such:
1 – User takes a selfie/uploads one of someone else
2 – User obtains a manipulated, faceswopped selfie
3 – Said user is able to share swopfie with twitter, facebook etc
4 – Said user is able to tag him/herself/friends
5 – Said user is able view the dashboard of swopfies/search for friends or specific tags

The above 5-step process takes users active online identities and quickly takes away their control over the images/sides of themselves they choose to reveal on the net. In addition, by allowing people to tag their friends or create hashtags for posts, we are able to aggregate trends in the face swapping process. It certainly would be very interesting if there are users from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds participating. Aside from that, using tags will make it easier for users to find their way around the site, building up the number of page views and building up traffic.

If the blog were to go live and be projected onto a big screen at the adm lobby, it would be updated and passers-by would be able to experience and view the swopfies in realtime. These passers-by actions and reactions will also be documented in a video as this concept is similar to what we’re used to on the net; other users view and react to your photos and online profiles (some without even leaving a trace and you would have no idea that they were there in the first place). By documenting this installation on video, we’re able to expose the passive online identities: one these passers-by have no control over as they were documented then an there with no filter or anonymity to hide behind.

I believe that there’s so much we can learn from this activity of swopfies and sharing about social relationships, events, social upheaval, and other patterns of human behavior.

Micro-Project: Max Net Appropriation


I’m the kind of person that likes to idly scroll my facebook newsfeed or instagram feed when I’m bored. This way. I can see what my friends are up to and how life is treating them. Most of my friends are avid posters of selfies. I get to see what my friends look like without actually being with them in real life. I wanted to explore this concept further in MAX for allowing me to see more selfies (even of people I do not know” tagged with “selfie” or “wefie” on Flickr to see how many of these are posted on the Flickr Stream. Thank you August Black and Randall Packer for creating a MAX Patch that a software n00b like me can easily digest 😛


This video is based on August’s original Flickr Search that has been e-mailed to us. I had  I then followed the instructions for audio and visual manipulation. 

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(The original unedited MAX Patch)

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Firstly, I entered the two search queries which is “selfie” and “wefie”.

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The “movie” was moving at a speed to fast for me to screenshot so I adjusted it to 250 from 150:Screen shot 2014-10-08 at 9.50.09 AM


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Changing the presets would make it look like filters; the ones you would get on instagram.

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I also renamed it to Ruzana’s Flickr Search before turning on the audio.

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The final MAX Patch Product…

Click the above video to see my MAX working file

Click the above video to see the final video

My concept for this video is inspired by selfies/wefies on instagram. In instagram, you’re able to choose from a vast array of image filters to pimp your selfie. I adjusted various parameters on the max file to create a gradual change of filter and recorded it. The video starts of slow, representing the beginning of selfie culture and then gradually becomes faster and the filters so extreme that you can’t even see the faces in the images anymore. The accompanied sound also stops and sounds “glitched” at some point and then becomes really really fast – This is to represent how something as innocent as taking a picture of yourself and uploading it onto social media websites online may erupt and evolve into something bigger; an issue of self-objectification.

I find the idea of appropriating real-time images by searching for them on the internet very interesting. Prior to this, I had no idea you could generate audio based on visual information and transpose our data from one media type to another. I’ve learnt a lot from this exercise though it proved to be rather challenging at first 🙂 I’m happy I pulled through!

Project Hyperessay #1: Amazing and Freaking out the Internet



Out of all the micro-projects that we have worked and embarked on so far, I felt that the Collective Body was the most amusing and interesting. It made me chuckle and I like how in this body of work, we are able to make small contributions to form a larger picture as a whole. The collective artworks creates an alternate form of narrative; open to the audiences’ interpretations. Although the idea of tweaking photographs to create a new image is not new, it never ceases to create reactions and amuse or even frighten the audience. The reactions an artist hopes to get can be planned… however, there is no guarantee how the audience might react to the work.

I thought about John’s use of the camera app on one of our Adobe Connect Sessions and recently,
I downloaded an app on my smartphone called FaceSwop. An example of a FaceSwop:


I find this idea somewhat similar to the Collective Body and has the potential to explore some of the topics I hoped to bring out in my Video Selfie: which was to show how we hide behind our computer screens, or rather, avatars as a form of disguise or masquerade. We reconstruct ourselves and choose which fragments of our personalities to showcase on the Internet. Therefore, I did more research on FaceSwaps and found the CLMTrackr by Audun Øygard:


CLMtrackr is an open-source JavaScript project that lets you “try on” faces of celebrities and other notable figures. To accurately capture your facial movements, the virtual model plots 70 reference points on your face and uses them to add effects to the masks in real time.”
-Audun Øygard, CLMtrackr, Artists’ Statement


Building on face-tracking algorithms from a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, Øygard’s self-built Javascript library follows 70 points on your face in real time. Tilt your head, wiggle your eyebrows, or stick out your tongue, and the virtual visage remains stretched over yours all the while. The concept is novel and participation is simple. Simply go to the website. Allow them access to your webcam and you’re all ready to go. To some, turning on their webcams would mean they’d need to get ready and actually be prepared for a photo. For the ladies, some dabbing of lipstick and for men maybe more wax on the hair… (p.s You don’t even have to look super presentable for this; after all, it isnt your face per se!)

Here’s my stab on the CLMtrackr! Can you guess who’s “masks” are on my face…
(Apparently the first is Justin Bieber and second is George Clooney?!?!?!?)

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The presentation is slightly rough though as the system is flawed and sometimes is not able to accurately detect your face. (at one point they had the mask on the blue painting behind me, but I couldn’t catch that moment and capture a screenshot on time [glitch?] ):

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Øygard explains, “Face substitution is one of the things which probably will get much better over time and we’ll see it pop up more places.” With a very prospective future ahead, the development of digital technology is looking to be encompass more interactive and user-friendly improvements.

Øygard made his software citing Faces as his reference. Faces is an interactive installation by Arturo Castro and Kyle McDonald, extending work on face substitution. The piece resembles a mirror where people get their face swapped.. It takes advantage of the unique experience of slowly recognizing yourself as someone else.

He published the above video to do some kind of research; to see what people reactions are. Vimeo commenters are already chiming in about possible uses. “Would be useful for chatroulette,” replied Vormplus. The software provides an uncanny experience of being someone else elicits peoples responses; laughter, surprise, repulsion.

The installation is based on the idea of wishing for a new identity: when the subject first steps up, they see their face unmodified. After closing their eyes to make a wish and opening them again, they discover they are wearing a new face. The result is a mixture of a playful, surprising and some times scary experience.” – Arturo Castro, Artists’ Statement


Castro then created an exhibition following the exhibition. Knowing that it takes approximately one second for someone to respond to a completely unexpected event, he stored a photograph at 1.5 seconds after the swap – capturing that moment of realization. So far, the reactions aren’t what Castro expected. “I was expecting creepy and fun/hilarious,” he says. “But I was a little surprised by the people who say ‘Oh, the future is scary.'”

I find it interesting how the artists’ opinions often varies with that of the audience in works like these. One can not expect a clear and definite answer to what the audience’s reactions and opinions might be. Therefore, perhaps we could an open online database in the form of a website that publishes the captured pictures and uploads it in real time to the internet. This is accompanying an interactive setup with the cameras and screens possibly at the ADM lobby. The setup could be somewhat like Nicholas Maigret’s Pirate Cinema. In this way, we could create an installation that interactive, participatory, and multimedia-based; using our social interactions.

On the proposed site, we could provide a “shared record” of all the real-time faceswops. It is a “collective blog” that is updated and constantly changing. Additionally, the implementation of twitter feeds and an opinion section allow the public to engage with the website and make their interactions with the website and its content, and their opinions public knowledge. The website promotes the event/installation and allows the viewer to learn more. There could also be “share to twitter”, “share to facebook” and “share to flickr” widget buttons so that audience can share the experience with their friends, family and acquaintances who might not be physically present in ADM to experience it. Using and supporting open source software and garnering more attention to its availability can also help drive greater awareness on how the open innovation model and open source technology can help drive innovation and pave way for great ideas.

Aside from the option of sharing photos/videos from the website to social media, we could also implement comment boxes on each photo/video that helps promote conversations. Some people can pen down what they think, ask questions and others can possibly respond and give answers. It speaks to the dynamics and evolving nature of the website’s subject. In this way, we can take full advantage of interactive interface and connectivity to multiple social cultures and micro-cultures. After all, Net.artists have built digital art communities through an active practice of web hosting and web art curating. Constantly finding new ways to share public space.

We could also explore beyond using faces of celebrities. We could take pictures of peers, faculty and even administrative assistants as masks. (This would of course require prior permissions to use their photo/faces – Much like Eva and Franco Mattes Life-Sharing – but Face-Sharing HAHA) People can take a stab at guessing who’s face was merged with who’s or with who’s body.. or one might even want to tag themselves in the post and receive realtime updates if people like or leave comments on the photo to promote more interaction. Having a “Most Viewed/Commented” on the website column also is a wonderful interactive element. The viewer can learn about what swaps others on the site enjoy and it personalises the experience for everyone.

And as cameras and videogame systems become even further intertwined, you could imagine how this sort of technology could be applied. We could even have interactive face-swop video greetings like this at the adm lobby:

SOME TECHNICAL ASPECTS: Developed using openFrameworks and the Facetracker library through Kyle McDonald’s ofxFaceTracker addon for OF All the code is open source and can be found in this github repository.

Research: Life Sharing by Eva and Franco Mattes


For ordinary people like you and me, the thought of someone else (quite possibly a hacker) looking through and copying or modifying our personal files is enough to make us cringe. 

Why, exactly, is privacy important to us? There is no one simple answer to this
question, since people have a number of interests that may be harmed by invasions of
their privacy. In the day and age where there’s rampant use of smartphones, computers and technology in general, the type of data stored our gadgets can paint an almost complete picture of even the most private details of our private, personal lives. We share everything with our computer: our time, our space, our culture, our personal relationships, our memories, our ideas etcwe now carry a lot of our private and sensitive information around with us on a daily basis.

As a result of just how lonely and lost we feel, we’re increasingly willing to exchange privacy for the opportunity to have others notice us and pay attention to us. I also argue that abandoning your privacy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In many ways, privacy benefits banks and corporations more than it benefits people.
– Niedzvicki on Privacy

As artists, we somehow feel need to guard and protect our intellectual property.
Not these artists though…


Image by Kyle Bean

“A computer, with the passing of time, ends up looking like its owner’s brain. It does it more and better than other more traditional media, e.g., diaries, notebooks, or, on a more abstract level, paintings and novels.”

– via

Out of all these information that we keep, we can choose to share some our hard-disk files with other people; This process is called File-sharing. A couple who goes by 0100101110101101.ORG, Italian artists whose medium is the Internet, then decided they would do Life-sharing.

Eva + Franco Mattes


Title: Life Sharing
Artist(s): Eva and Franco Mattes aka
Duration: 2000 – 2003
Media: Internet Webpages, Computer Hard Drives & Contents
Technology: Debian GNU/Linux, HTML, Javascript, Flash, Python

Life Sharing is a real-time digital self-portrait. Started in the year 2000 and active uninterruptedly until 2003, Life Sharing is 0100101110101101.ORG’s personal computer turned into a real time sharing system. Any visitor has free and unlimited access to all contents: texts, images, software, 01’s private mail. One can get lost in this huge data maze. Based on Linux, Life Sharing is a brand new concept of net architecture turning a website into a sheer personal media for complete digital transparency. Permanent infotainment pioneering the peer to peer mass diffusion. Privacy is stupid.

– Eva and Franco Mattes, Life Sharing, Artists’ Statement


Enter two net “experimenters” that didn’t fit into traditional art spaces or existing categories; Eva and Franco Mattes. For them, living publicly online is their form of performance art in the digital age. Their personal and private lives became the subject of their public artwork. 

This out-of-the-box piece, whose title is a play on the term “file sharing,” provides an exercise in transparency. It is an act of data exhibitionism as the artists that turns viewers into peeping toms. With that, they welcome you into their world and website by greeting you with the message: “Now you’re in my computer.”


 Visitors to their Website are greeted by this message.

Except for a few sensitive files, like those that might allow the project to be erased, the machine’s contents — software, e-mails, even error messages — are accessible by anyone and everyone. Naturally, most people would be worried when the concept of someone else snooping on their personal files, not with the Mattes as thats is one of the points it is trying to bring up by removing the barriers between the public and their personal lives. The couple champion the open-source computing movement, which is based on freely available, communally developed software. Social network didn’t exist when the work began; thus freely sharing files was not common.


Their private e-mails shared in real time via their website.

Eva and Franco Mattes explains why they were so intrigued and willing to put themselves at risk of making themselves vulnerable to potential identity theft and other online violations in the name of art: 

 When started, we were all blown away by the idea of having a sort of personal live channel accessible to anybody in which putting our things, but in the mid 90s, this was very abstract and rudimental — the Internet speed sucked. When we did Life Sharing and put all the contents of our home computer online and shared them with everybody, we were like cavemen trying to make art with bones and stones, stoned.

– Eva and Franco Mattes, on Life Sharing, Art 21 Interview

As open source and net art is more about the participation of the viewer and less about the work itself, I feel that they have managed to get people involved in their work and its amazing how given the platform to do whatever they wish with these data, people interact with this differently. Here are some screenshots of what people have done with their website:

work-lifesharing-screenshot-08-700x583 work-lifesharing-screenshot-07-700x583 work-lifesharing-screenshot-06-700x583 work-lifesharing-screenshot-04-700x583

This is open source living in the digital age. It’s making a political statement about ownership and commercialism. It’s not just about viewing. Not only can you see in, but you can use the plans yourself.

– Steve Dietz

Though Life Sharing was created in 2000 through to 2003 where social networking sites like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter did not exist yet, they were an early representation and exploration of what Peep Culture might become and how it would have manifested itself. The author of Peep Diaries, Hal Niedzviecki notes:


“We have entered the age of “peep culture”: a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, security, and even humanity. Peep culture is what  happens when we entertain ourselves by watching real people do real things, as opposed to watching actors and performers pretend to do real things. Peep culture is YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Reality TV.”

– Niedzviecki on Peep Culture

Today, we’re getting used to the fact that our everyday lives are a potential source of entertainment for other people. An example of that would be vlogs, or Video Blogs, in which people videotape themselves going about their everyday lives and publish it online for people to watch. A quick search on Youtube would reveal plenty of vlogs uploaded by different people everyday. The funny thing is, the internet culture has become accustomed to watching people. Even for those of us who just watch, there are consequences. We start to think of people’s lives and problems as just entertainment.


Watching the Watchers:

Eva and Franco Mattes also collected data on people who were watching them; their referred site history, countries of origin, directories and file types. I personally think these data visualisations are pretty darn awesome.

lifesharing-logs-ReqReferSiteHist-2000 lifesharing-logs-ReqCountry-2000 lifesharing-logs-ReqDirs-2000 lifesharing-logs-ReqFiletype-2000

”This is the beauty of a computer. It’s not the colors or the flashy stuff. It’s the functionality. How data goes from one point to another, how software interacts, even the bugs: this is the real Net art.”

– Renato Pasopiani, via New York Times Press

As the Life Sharing artpiece was so successful, the artists wanted to further magnify the impact of infringing their personal lives. They then set out to create Vopos, which is a sequel to Life sharing and is a project in which the artists wore Global Positioning System (GPS) transmitters to track their whereabouts, mapping their location on their Web site in real time. The artists also patched their mobile phone conversations through their server so anyone could listen in.

They certainly know how to push the boundaries with their work!

Micro Project: Take Home Glitchin’


Can’t get enough of glitching now that I know how to INTENTIONALLY create them 😀 hahaha. There’s something about the unexpected outcome that appeals to me. Unlike Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign that I work with everyday, I have no control over what happens to my image. Well, i do – just that I’m not completely certain what adding a “&%^21340” or duplicating an entire chunk of text and placing it somewhere else in the image data on TextEdit would do. Using my picture from eons ago, I set out to get glitchin’… hoping and praying at least some part of my face will be untouched cos I do wanna make the end result my profile pic 😀

So here’s what the unglitched photo looks like:


Now the fun begins…


Don’t know what I did but it took out a large chunk of the photo and left it all black for some reason. Not a look I was going for so I undid it and tried again..


This time it was prettier. The chunk is a textured blue. My face is gone though..


Now I have multiple bodies. Still no face. Let’s see if I can get my face back…




This outcome looks like my picture actually went into a shredder.. and quite possibly a bleach bath.


My last and final outcome; I’m liking this 😀