CV Dazzle

Make-up as a tool for technological counter-surveillance

Named after the characteristic graphic camouflage of WWI battleships, Computer Vision Dazzle, or CV Dazzle, employs make-up and styling techniques to make faces undetectable to computer vision systems. Reacting to the weaknesses of specific detection algorithms, the American artist Adam Harvey developed make-up strategies and specific looks to effectively conceal the face. His first research, starting as his graduation work in 2010, focused on the Viola-Jones algorithm which was widely used at the time and could be tricked by reversing dark and light areas of the face and breaking its' symmetry.

As facial recognition algorithms evolve, the camouflage needs to adapt to remain effective, as demonstrated by the new looks Harvey developed in 2020 to counter convolution neural network (CNN) face recognition.

Over the years the project has notably gone beyond the realm of tech-art-world, gathering a lot of attention within fashion and pop culture. Even if the window of effectiveness for the techniques might be limited, the project has thus been very successful in drawing attention to modern surveillance technology. Many similar projects in contemporary fashion and design speak to the continued relevance of the issue.

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