Cosmetic Space, with Hanna Haaslahti

Lead Developer
Project based in Helsinki, Finland
In collaboration with Hanna Haaslahti

ClientHanna Haaslahti
DateWork in Progress

Cosmetic Space is a participatory simulation where visitors are invited to model a 3D double from themselves, based on a facial scan. These masked doubles become digital actors in a virtual scene – a perpetual re-enactment of historical trauma that addresses the place of the spectator in rituals of violence and oppression.

Main technologies: C++, morphable 3D models, machine vision, stereogrammetry, Unity

Cosmetic Space investigates mutation from material reality to digital reality and the effects of this transaction on human relations. Our research takes a critical look at the history of computer vision and current face tracking and 3D reconstruction technologies. The statistical analysis of faces enables a currency of identification – a form of universal ‘face value’ – which works both to mask identity, and also to produce and exchange it.

The scene re-enacts so called scrubbing patrols, which occurred in Austria after its annexation to Germany in 1938.  Within the scene, participants are sorted into aggressors, witnesses, and victims.

The form and interaction design of the face scanner is based on the tintamarresque photo booth.