Own Race Bias

Installation (2 opposing walls: pictures and screen with movie of pictures)
4 x 1 x 2.5 m
Wall picturesDark to brightBright to darkWall picture sectionBinary search treeBinary search tree masterMorphing exampleMorphing exampleMorphing exampleMorphing example

Own race bias is a term used in theories of cognition to describe mistakes when interpreting faces of alien races. The appearance of members from a foreign cultural background is significantly less differentiatedly perceived than the one of members from a familiar cultural background.

Wall picture:
600 passport (size) photographs, 4 x 1 m

600 passport (size) photographs, morphed, 17'

The photographs were taken by an Indian street photographer with a camera obscura. During her stay in India, the artist ordered one extra copy per portrait from the photographer. Over a period of five months she bought 1000 copies from him. Only at home did she notice that about half of the bought picture were copies of each other.

For the video film, these photographs have been scanned, cropped and transformed into each other by a computer program. In doing so, the computer tries to detect the eyes of the faces on the photographs in order to morph them into each other. Because of the extremely diverse quality of the pictures, the morphing processus is doomed.

The wall picture consits of the original material processed in the video. The gray scale value of the photographs has been calculated digitally by a script, as to arrange them according to a binary search tree. This data structure is used as a model for the wall picture.

Johnny Nia (Script) / Philipp Suter (Morph)