Computer Vision Art Gallery

CVPR 2021: Virtual due to COVID-19

Marion Carré

Payed by heartbeats, (2021)

Project Website

Payed by heartbeats is an installation that invites its participants to entrust biometric data, their heartbeats, in order to be able to generate a unique composition traced by a pen plotter.

For the machine to create a unique and personalized composition for each participant, they must pay for it with biometric data. They find themselves in front of a distributor of artworks, which only accepts heart beats as a currency.

This currency is more precious than gold, more intimate than a signature on a check. Heartbeats can sometimes say more about an individual’s emotional state than their facial expressions. It is therefore all the less harmless to agree to entrust them to a machine.

Placed in front of a webcam, the participant is analysed by a visual recognition tool that uses artificial intelligence to extract heart rate from images. These data are sent to an algorithm which mobilizes them to generate a personalized creation drawn by a pen plotter.

The mechanism offered by this work to its participants, paying for an original and personalized creation with biometric data, is not so far from the tacit choice we make when we entrust our personal data to platforms in exchange for free or personalized services, or still with a surveillance device in exchange for a promise of security.

Usually, this choice is made more or less consciously: we know what service we are getting, without necessarily realizing the price we paid to get it. This time, the participants must make this conscious choice: are they ready to entrust their biometric data in exchange for an original work?

This artwork invites us to be aware of the existence of this choice. It also questions our limits: how far are we prepared to go to obtain free services? Is there a limit to the data we are willing to provide in return?

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