Emily Roderick, who splits her art-life between the Midlands and that London, was featured in the Guardian the other week along with the rest of The Dazzle Club, doing walks through the capital with their faces painted with abstract shapes.
They're using a technique developed by artist Adam Harvey that he called CV Dazzle in 2010 which is based on the pre-radar method of protecting ships from torpedos in WWI by painting them with abstract shapes. This Dazzle Camouflage confused submarines who were unable to accurately calculate the distance and heading of a ship and thus unable to hit it with a torpedo.
CV Dazzle makeup, standing for Computer Vision Dazzle, is intended to work in a similar way by either making the face invisible to recognition software or simply disguising the individual so they can't be tracked.
There's a lot of this sort of art around, but it's interesting, and relevant to our interests, to see the Dazzle Club using group walks as the way to get it out there. It turns the act of wearing the makeup into a protest and it's no coincidence their walks coincide with the London police starting to use live facial recognition systems in the capital.
Wearing the makeup as an individual probably doesn't work – the technology is improving every day and doesn't just depend on faces for identification – but combining it with a silent group walk, which features in the long history of protest, helps raise issues around its adoption without full consideration of the flaws and civil implications.
Dazzle Club walks take place in London on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Sign up to their newsletter for location information. And hopefully Emily & co will bring this up to the Midlands soon.