2020 BFA THESIS SHOW
BOSTON UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS


























 

YIAN ZHAO

yianzhao.com
Thesis Project


We live in surveillance. Countless cameras are watching us walking, talking, and living in our “private” lives. People block the cameras on the laptop; states banned the use of facial recognition by agencies. My computer science class and internship that taught me the algorithms and applications to peep at people's lives through cameras make me feel worse. However, is facial recognition really that evil? Can banning technology solve the problem? For the thesis, I will explore various aspects of artificial intelligence and discuss the trust crisis brought about by technology.

Through research about facial recognition in real-life situations and artworks, I learned opinions from different perspectives. AI technology can be the devil that censors the public and minorities. However, it can also be the opposite that improves life quality and protects people, especially during this pandemic period. Technology is innocent. The outcome depends on who uses it and how it is used. In the show, I will build an interactive website that enables the audience to explore facial recognition by oneself. The audience can upload or use the webcam to take an image, and the website will return an abstract computer-generated portrait based on it. The elements in the portrait will build a visual system that gives an objective description of the user during lockdown. It is designed to be a warm and encouraging experience for people who have stayed at home for months. It also aims to provide another perspective to people about AI technology.