Interactive installation, (screen, webcam, computer, software), 2021


Filipe Vilas-Boas (PT)

“In the necessary critique of the deviant uses of digital technology, facial recognition holds a special place. And for good reason: used as a surveillance tool, it is in fact an infringement of our fundamental freedoms. Far from me the idea of wanting to legitimise any freedom-killing use, I am attempting a poetic and humanistic detour in order not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead of focusing on identity recognition, I diverted the framework of this technology to develop a form of artificial empathy.

Our face being our very first social interface, we are constantly literally speaking with it. Based on this (sur)face language recognition and analysis I created Mixed Feelings, an interactive installation that draws its inspiration from the emotions identifiable on our face to compose and improvise music in real time.

The device combines a facial recognition system with a neural network trained to create music. With Mixed Feelings, I explore the poetic potential of facial recognition by using the detection of emotions, or at least of the expressions that compose them, as an input to the musical creation. The listener thus finds themself analysed and converted in an infinite musical mirror game between human emotion and artificial intelligence.

The project questions the surveillance regimes we are living in and, more deeply, the kind of empathy we are developing in our highly automated societies, the way we are connected and read others’ states of mind and emotions, including our own ones.”

Interactive installation (screen, webcam, computer, software program), 2021

Concept & production: Filipe Vilas-Boas / Programming: Grégoire Jauvion

Filipe Vilas-Boas

Filipe Vilas-Boas was born in Portugal in 1981. He is a self-taught conceptual artist currently living and working in Paris. Neither a naive tech utopist nor a reluctant technophobe, he explores our use of technology and its ethical and aesthetic implications. His installations, performances, and conceptual artworks question the global digitalisation of our societies, mostly by merging our physical (IRL) and digital (URL) worlds.

His works were highlighted in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Portuguese Emerging Art books, and have been shown internationally, notably at Nuit Blanche Paris, UNESCO, Biennale Siana, Le Cube, Biennale Némo – Le 104 (FR), Athens Digital Art Festival (GR), at the Zaratan gallery and at MAAT Museum (PT), and at the Tate Modern (UK).

© E. Richard, Maif Social Club
© E. Richard, Maif Social Club