This larger-than-life artwork for Amsterdam Light Festival 2023 mimics a facial recognition algorithm. ‘Is it really you?’ illustrates how state-of-the-art technology reproduces archetypes. It sparks a conversation about the social bias embedded in AI and our society’s dependence on technologies whose inner workings are often impenetrable.
Four metre high art piece on Westerdokskade
For the 2023 edition of Amsterdam Light Festival, the participating artists were asked to consider the effects of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) on people’s everyday lives. MAST responded to the brief by designing Is it really you?. The four metre high art piece mimics a facial recognition algorithm and lights up the night by generating different shapes, colours and faces. It is located next to an industrial heritage bridge on Westerdokskade, in the heart of the city.
Visualising the bias embedded in AI and algorithms
‘Is it really you?’ makes the abstract topic of AI tangible for visitors. It consists of a lightweight stainless steel frame and a network of over hundred LED segments, embedded in the frame. Together they form the outline of a face. The lights create a dynamic pattern following the LED segments. The patterns are animated in different sequences, as if it is an algorithm trying to read its audience. It makes the festival goers question: does AI see me for who I am?
Client / Amsterdam Light Festival
Status / Temporary
Year / 2023
Location / Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Production / Heijmerink Wagemakers
AV / OneEightyOne
Our role / Art direction, Concept design
Team / Maite Margalho, Marina Friedrich, Matteo Renna, Stefan Fahrngruber