Figure 1: Wilson, J., and Wilson, L. (2020) False Positives, False Negatives, 2012 [Screenprint]. Image taken by Molly&Gabby.

Figure 1 features two grayscale photographic portraits of identical twins, Jane and Louise Wilson. There gaze directed at the viewer; who can slightly see themselves due to the print being on a mirrored surface. Painted directly on each of their faces are several black and white rectangles, the arrangement and sizes differ on each Wilson twin. This overall layer is slightly transparent, revealing a CCTV image that’s layered underneath.  

Although Jane and Louise are identical twins, their portraits appeared distorted. This is down to the rectangles pointing to their naturally occurring asymmetries, while also altering their faces. For example, the black rectangle over the left Wilson twins nose makes it look smaller than the other twin. Immediately I related this art piece to Micheal Bird’s essay Perception of Symmetry. Bird stated that images which show slight asymmetry “promises the aesthetic satisfaction of equilibrium but stirs up disorienting tensions of duality” (Bird, M 2004). The minor asymmetries on their faces created up enough interest to get the viewer to stay a while and view the image longer. Although due to the grayscale colouring the piece isn’t immediately eye-catching, the slight asymmetry makes the individual stay longer with the work.  

When spending this extra time with the piece, you realise you see yourself; additionally, you can also see a blurry picture behind. This is a CCTV still. After researching further, I realised how planned it was to keep your attention. The distortion was created by the ‘dazzle camouflage.’ Which is known for distorting the face and although may seem to bring attention to their faces, it actually camouflages them to facial recognition technology. The CCTV image seen is stills from the “2010 assassination of a Hamas operative in a hotel room in Dubai” (Artsy, 2013). After one of the murders left the hotel, he was seen by CCTV in disguise.  However, he could still be prosecuted due to CCTV footage being able to retrace his steps before he left, this revealed that our identity is highly vulnerable to facial recognition.   

Overall, the piece is successful in its outcome. 

Bibliography

Artsy. (2013) Jane and Louise Wilson “False Positives and False Negatives”. [Online] available from <https://www.artsy.net/article/editorial-jane-and-louise-wilson-false-positives-and> [Accessed: 04/04/2020]

Bird, M. (2004) The Perception of Symmetry. [Online] available from <https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-1-summer-2004/perception-symmetry> [Accessed: 23/01/2020]

Gisbon, M. (2007) Double Act. e.d. by Kuiengdorf, Ulf. Munich: Prestel 

Lewis, P., Julian, B., and McCarthy, R. (2010) Dubai murder: fake identities, disguised faces and a clinical assassination. [Online] available from <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/16/dubai-murder-fake-identities-hamas> [Accessed: 16/04/2020]

Pilger, Z. (2013) How two sisters turned a murder into a work of art. [Online] available from <https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/how-two-sisters-turned-a-murder-into-a-work-of-art-8867297.html> [Accessed: 04/04/2020]

Snoddy, S. (2020) 20 for 2020. [Art Exhibition] Walsall: The New Art Gallery Walsall, February 2020

Vries, P., and Schinkel, W. (2019) ‘Algorithmic anxiety: Masks and camouflage in artistic imaginaries of facial recognicition.’ Big Data & Society. 6(1) 1-12

Wilson, J., and Wilson, L. (2020) False Positives, False Negatives, 2012. [Screenprint] ’20 for 2020′ exhibition. Walsall: The New Art Gallery Walsall, 25 January – 5 July 2020