Texts project and artist's statements project Capture, by Paolo Cirio. 2020
Over 4000 French Police Officers are identifiable with Facial Recognition.

The platform Capture-Police.com offers a database of 4000 faces of police officers to crowdsource their identification by name. The photos were taken during the protests of recent years in France and processed with Facial Recognition software. All the pictures were taken in the public space, either found on the public Internet or acquired from the press. The resulting identification of the officers will be made public once they are verified.

The artist, Paolo Cirio, created this project to explore the power imbalances and asymmetries found in the use of Facial Recognition. The ethics, politics, and aesthetics of the technology, intervention, and photography of this art project aim to resolve the perplexity surrounding notions of accountability, privacy, and the autonomy of citizens and officer

The paradigm of the powerful watching and the powerless being watched is reversed. The police’s call for the use of Facial Recognition on protesters, minorities, and civilians eventually turns against the same authorities that urge the use of it. The danger of Facial Recognition technology concerns everyone; in response, Cirio campaigns to ban facial recognition in collaboration with privacy organizations.


Statements by Paolo Cirio for the project Capture, September 2020

I collected 1000 public photos of police officers taken during the protests in France and I processed them with Facial Recognition software to profile 4000 faces of officers that now can be identified by name.

I don't have anything against the police, I only want to demonstrate that Facial Recognition technology is above them.

Police officers are just people, but they can use violent tools, and so the police need to be accountable if they use these tools against citizens.

At the moment there is an asymmetry of power, where citizens are surveilled while the police is not accountable and they can hide.

I want to show that this asymmetry of power is not fair.

After all this is not about technology nor about the police, it's about democracy.

The police want to use Facial Recognition on protesters, minorities, and civilians, while they make themselves unidentifiable.

The paradigm of the powerful watching and the powerless being watched is reversed.

I question the boundaries of this act, beyond the provocation, I work for regulations and debates on power balances.

The ethics, politics, and aesthetics of this project aim to resolve the perplexity concerning the notions of transparency, privacy, and autonomy of citizens and authorities.



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