In the attic of workspacebrussels, you will find a prototype of The Recognition Machine. Come and test it with us.
The Recognition Machine presents itself as a Photomaton. You are invited to take place and have your face scanned with Facial Recognition software. The machine will search for an image that matches your measurements, in her own, oftentimes surprising, logic. It will deliver an image from a database of 19th century anthropometric photographs – that are transformed by Antje Van Wichelen via the 'procedures' that include chemical processing of 16mm film and printing techniques. The machine prints the image in its own stubborn way. You may keep the print, but it comes with an assignment (or invitation) to undertake a search. This search will lead you towards a photograph that may depict one or several people who at a certain moment, in certain circumstances, have been photographed – and towards the archive it sits in. It is possible that your discoveries come with a certain shock, a dégout, or a mal-à-l'aise, since the original images have been taken in the unequal, violent, circumstances of colonialism. The assignment ends when you report about your search, both historically (with contextual elements you found) and personally/emotionally. Directions or clues of where to begin are given to you by the machine, together with the printed image.
By: Antje Van Wichelen & SICV (Michael Murtaugh & Nicolas Malevé) — Assistance: Brenda Bikoko — Based on the archives of: Wereldculturen (NL), Tropisch Instituut (BE), Pitt Rivers Museum (UK), Quai Branly (FR), Rautenstrauch Joest Museum / Kulturen der Welt Köln (DE), KMMA (BE) — Co-production: nadine, workspacebrussels — Supported by: Constant vzw, LaboBXL, the Flemish Community Commission (VGC), Maite Morren & the Community of Elsene