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Public Face In cooperation with Benjamin Maus and Richard Wilhelmer
Lindau (Lake Constance), 2010

Video about Public Face II (Fühlometer)

This eight-meter-high smiley face, a sculpture made of steel and neon tubes, has been installed at different times on tall, prominent rooftops in Lindau, Berlin, and Vienna. Due to its immense scale, the sculpture becomes part of the skyline, and its varying expressions can be seen from far away. For example, it may seem angry, happy, sad, or surprised. The emotions conveyed by the sculpture are based on the facial expressions of local passersby, who are filmed by surveillance cameras. Their facial expressions are then analyzed by software created by the artists that uses algorithms developed by the Fraunhofer Institute. The machine is thus able to read the emotions on a person’s face.
The installation Public Face uses these algorithms to make the changing, average emotions of city inhabitants visible to everyone in public space.