Generated Portraits – Nellie Robinson

  • Generated Portraits
     
    Nellie Robinson   |   2017  |   Illustration & Computer Science
     
    This is a sequence of faces generated by a computer program I wrote using Processing. Each time a key is pressed, the program creates a "face" by randomly selecting and layering vector shapes taken from 16 photos of actual faces. My intention was to trick the viewer into "recognizing" these faces as reality, when in fact they are merely shapes of color. (And though the shapes of color might appear artsy and "interpretive" at first, they are generated by a program that has zero understanding of the subject matter.) By demonstrating how easily our brains can form a "unique" human connection with generated images, I hope to convey a sense of false familiarity, sort of like walking through a crowd of random strangers. You might think you see a familiar face only to discover it belongs to a complete stranger; you might notice a particular stranger so regularly that you feel like you know them even though you've never said a word to them. Uncomfortable with strangeness, we unconsciously force images into a recognizable form even when the image has no grounding in reality.

    digital art: processing