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Fashion as a Resource to Escape Surveillance


A creative way to fight Big Brother —in style.

Never in the history of mankind have we been spied on as we are today; new technologies have created a sophisticated and hidden global web of video-surveillance and facial recognition. For some, this is a logical step towards safety, but for others it is an invasion of privacy that provokes nonconformity, rebellion and creative protests. Should we mock Big Brother?

CV Dazzle channels the stress of video-surveillance in an artistic response that combines hacktivism with high fashion. With a name derived from information camouflage used in the First World War to disrupt the images taken by the battleships, CV Dazzle detects the most common facial recognition algorithms on Earth, to later appeal to stylistic inspiration. Sun glasses, for example, are not usually enough to be unrecognized by most of the software used today. In some places, wearing masks is illegal, and hoodies, according to the creators of the project, “is effective but gives away too obviously that you’re trying to hide yourself.” The alternative is what they call “ambiguous types of furtive fashion.”

When it comes to their aesthetic proposal, CV Dazzle leans towards “radical neutrality”. A mix of tribal painting and London’s nightlife fashion inspires the designs that break the face’s gestalt. To create these looks, they scoured genetic algorithms to detect vulnerabilities in the facial recognition process. Based on this, they built an “anti-face” that makes your face illegible to computers but still recognizable to humans. We see a harmony between mask, disguise and make-up which holds humankind’s coefficient —And that, for now, surpasses the ubiquitous eye of the machine.

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