Coralie Vogelaar Recognized / Not Recognized, looking for the popular news image algorithm (2016)
For her project “Recognized / Not Recognized, looking for the popular news image algorithm” (two showcase tables 71 x 300 x 90cm each, duratrans print, multiple perspex layers, stickers.) Coralie Vogelaar explores the mechanisms of press photography. Every day, newspaper editors are inundated with thousands of images of one event where one image will be destined to become iconic while others will vanish into oblivion. Vogelaar amassed an archive of 850,000 news images (including amateur footage) from the databases of international news agencies, such as AFP and Reuters, of the 10 most covered events of the past five years. Using image recognition software, she researched which images were used the most and the least on the Google indexed web and attempted to find the underlying patterns. Recognized / Not Recognized can be interpreted as an attempt to find the algorithm for a future camera – one that only captures the perfect shot, similar to the recent ones that include smile detection software. Intriguingly, the successful images often show people in poses that we subconsciously recognise from western art, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà or Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa. It would appear that from a vast ocean of photographic data, we have the tendency to favour images that confirm our visual frame of reference. The google algorithm is already built on the validation of certain presets and stereotypes. At the moment – with a little bit of effort – unsuccessful photos can still be found behind a login wall. However in the future these images would not even be registrered by the camera, and if the camera delivers them than it is very unlikely they can be retrieved. Unsuccesful news images are then being considered as dirty data and are simply wiped from the system.
Coralie Vogelaar is an Amsterdam-based visual artist. In her ongoing research, she explores the areas where technology and humans meet, the interaction between the two and ways in which they influence each other. Her work consist of systematically conducted studies how computers see humans and their activity, and works with deep learning, eye & emotion tracking, and image recognition software. Both her background and interest are interdisciplinary, and she works together with (data)scientists, creative coders, actors, dancers and choreographers.
Recent exhibitions were in ZKM – Karlsruhe, Veem House for Performance, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Kunstverein Kassel, Science gallery Dublin, Impakt Festival Utrecht, UnArt Museum Shanghai, Noorderlicht Festival, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, MU Artspace, V2 – lab for the unstable media, FOMU – Antwerp, SPRING Festival Utrecht and Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen. She currently is doing a residency at TU Eindhoven Innovation Lab.