Ines von Ketelhodt, “Mienenspiel”

Ines von Ketelhodt
Flörsheim, Germany

book, Chromolux ALU paper
10.2 x 6.85 x .6″

Artist Statement

(“Facial Expression”)

The book investigates the wide range of human facial expressions
and the topic of facial recognition. Thanks to the mirror effect of the paper, which is coated in silver foil, viewers see themselves in the book as they turn the pages. They can imitate the illustrations of facial expressions that are printed on the foil, and modify their reflected images accordingly.

On the basis of graphics which are used by face recognition software, one graphic were modified and disassembled into parts: in 166 individual lines. Then the individual lines could be shifted and heads could be created in this geometric style, to show different facial expressions. It was not done with a real facial recognition software, but with a regular desktop publishing software “QuarkXpress” (for creating and editing complex page layouts). It’s rather an invitation to the reader to interact with the different printed facial expressions and his own face reflected within the pages due to the mirror-paper.

The text passages from Georg Büchner’s “Lenz” (from 1839) describe “all the subtle, barely noticed play of facial features,” “the human nature,” respect and tolerance for individuals, the “unique existence of each being,” as well as Medusa’s head.

The original German text is printed on each right-hand page, with an English translation on the left. The texts are set around an oval shape that is reminiscent of a mirror or even a face. Viewers can read the text by turning the book counter-clockwise. This also changes the reflected surroundings of the double-page spread.

It is no longer truly possible to regulate AI-supported facial recognition before the surveillance-based dystopias as described in Orwell’s “1984” become a reality (“Big Brother is watching you”).

The face illustrations and texts (computer typesetting) are letterpress printed with polymer plates on Chromolux paper, which is coated on one side with aluminum. The reverse and uncoated side of the papers are glued together along the front edge. Design, face illustrations, letterpress and bookbinding by the artist. Embossed cloth-covered boards housed in a paper-covered slipcase (17.4 × 26 × 1.5 cm), 40 pages, 17.1 × 25.4 cm, 35 numbered and signed copies.

Return to all semi-finalists