Encounter: “From Face to Algorithm – Digital Representations of the Face and Skull”
Digital simulations of the human face and skull exist in tension between the normative and the individual: How is it possible, on the basis of generalizable algorithms and programmable factors, to create a plannable but at the same time unique visual object? A range of very different, culturally significant questions are faced when developing digitalizations of face and skull and – for example, in pre-operative contexts – applying them. But those who reflect on the cultural and historical implications of such digital representations, too, encounter wide-ranging questions and issues.
Under the title “From Face to Algorithm – Digital Representations of the Face and Skull” these questions will be addressed by Stefan Zachow (Zuse Institute Berlin), from the perspective of information science, and by Uta Kornmeier (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin), from the perspective of cultural studies, approaching the issues from both praxeological and theoretical-historical points of view. This discussion will take place in the context of the event series “Encounter. Theory and Practice in Dialogue” organized by the Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies of the University of Cologne on 28 May 2018 at 6 pm in the Neuer Senatssaal of the University of Cologne. “Encounter” is part of the Morphomata researches into biography and portrait as figurations of the particular; on 28 May the following problems will be discussed:
In the context of practical application, for example, we may ask what are the scientific as well as medical interests and the (social, economic) conditions in which facial simulations may be developed and applied. Do production processes in information science open up a distinctive approach to historical questions of representation, lying as it does between individual expressivity and general processes of image production? And how does this fit in with the distinctive characteristic of our own time, namely digital transformation? From the perspective of theoretical reflection there are more and different questions to weigh: How do we perceive digital images that have been created on the basis of anatomical data, and what category of images do they belong to? How do digital simulations connect to older visualizations of face and skull? Where does such a thing as the individuality of a face come from anyway, and how can it be depicted either artistically or through medical techniques?
After a short introduction to the evening’s topic, Stefan Zachow will offer his contribution from practical experience and Uta Kornmeier her commentary. After a dialogue between the two of them, the discussion will be opened. Morphomata extends an invitation to a small reception afterwards. The event is open to the public: guests are very welcome.