Archive | December, 2014

Creating the Installation 2

31 Dec

Today I installed the OpenCv library in Processing and begun to look into the face tracking code needed for my installation project.

I began playing around with the basic tracking code one my own and with friends to understand how it worked and what i could and couldn’t track.

This was important as it gave me and understanding of how my installation will work once complete. Playing with the code i was able to find out the the face could be track from a decent enough distance away from the camera, this was very important for the project as people experiencing the installation wouldn’t be as close to the camera as normal, so knowing that wouldn’t be a problem was good.

Other things noticed where that the face can easily be blocked by objects such as hands and also interestingly large hats worn sometimes confuse the installation and then a face isn’t detected in some cases. However is very unlikely so shall not be a huge problem in my case.

Below is a short video showing the tracking working.

Creating the Installation 1

28 Dec

So my idea is to track movement/faces and to use a blur effect once a face moves onto the screen and when nothing is detected for the screen to be in focus.

First of I wanted to test my idea use mouse tracking and if statements. if mouse movement was detected a blur would be applied to the screen and if no mouse was detected the blur would not be applied. Below are two screen grabs of this process in affect.

Mouse detected and blur applied

Mouse detected and blur applied

No mouse detected and no blur

No mouse detected and no blur

Testing out this idea using simple if statements allowed me to get and understanding of how the process would effect the individual being watched and the outcome of it on screen. Next i shall be looking into the face tracking code and applying the same ideas to that rather than mouse tracking.

Michel Foucault and the Panopticon

18 Dec

Michel Foucault was one of many that understood that we as individuals react differently in different situations. A technique that Foucault cited often was the architectural design of the ‘Panopticon’   by Jeremy Bentham that was intended for prisons, insane asylums, schools, hospitals and factories. The was to regulate behave of people via observations rather than violent methods (Mason).

The regulation was achieved as prisoners would be under the impression that they where always being monitored. the structure designed allowed the guards to see into each of the cells from the high central tower but at the same time unseen by the prisoners. This idea of constant observations was used as a control method for the inmates.

This idea ties tightly with the idea of where do we draw the line between surveillance/security and our freedom. As this is such an important topic as surveillance technology is improving and getting wider spread throughout urban spaces.

The topic is that passers by are under a form of constant observation and knowing this they are then changing there behaviour.



Mason, Moya. ‘Foucault And His Panopticon – Power, Knowledge, Jeremy Bentham, Surveillance, Smart Mobs, Protests, Cooperation, Philosopher’. N.p., 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

The Hawthorne Effect

15 Dec

The Hawthorne Effect is an old psychological theory that shows that the individuals are likely to change the way they behave if they know that they are being watched. The theory started in a business environment in which they analysed wether the level of light would effect the individuals productivity levels. The results from this very inconclusive as a increase in productivity was noticed but didn’t correlate to either high or low light. However what was interesting was that when the observers left a noticeable drop in the individuals productivity was seen. So there initial criteria was not affective however they where able to conclude that the individuals productivity would increase when the where being observed (Shuttleworth, 2015).

This theory can be linked to my processing idea, in which I want to blur the scene when a face is tracked and not blur when there isn’t one. This idea may prove that individuals will act as they would if they can see that the camera isn’t able to capture faces.

Shuttleworth, M. (2015). Hawthorne Effect – Observation Bias. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2014].

Processing – Final Idea

8 Dec

After using Processing for some time now and beginning to understand the fundamentals i have become interested in the use of camera interactions and manipulations you can do based on what the camera is able to interpret. I have now been experimenting and looking at examples from the OpenCV Library.

In the media currently privacy and anonymity is huge deal, with this being said I wanted my project to have a simplistic idea based around these two concepts. This being said my final idea was the use OpenCV’s library to track faces on the screen and then manipulate the screen to blur whenever a face was present and not blur when a face wasn’t.

The aim of this is to get the passersby to think more about how they are watched and how many times they are captured on camera throughout a single day. Its overwhelming just how many CCTV cameras are in operation throughout the UK. The idea is the get the passersby to understand this and take into consideration if they agree or disagree with this and whether this alters there actions in any way.

I shall be looking into further detail about the ideas surrounding privacy and anonymity with relevant theories and current media forms.