Caged by Data: Exposing the Politics of Facial Recognition Through Zach Blas' Face Cages

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


With the emergence of facial recognition software, faces are continuously digitized and analyzed through machine vision. While facial recognition appears as an objective and unobtrusive security tool, feminist data scholars have shown that this technology is entangled with structures of power. This chapter explores how critical artistic responses to facial recognition have the potential to activate feminist critiques on the politics of facial recognition in nonverbal, material, and affective ways. Taking Zach Blas’s Face Cages as a case study, the chapter analyzes how the art project uses strategies of defamiliarization to instigate critical reflection and activate an understanding of biometric datafication as a process of capture, which entails a violent reduction of lived experiences of identity and embodiment into biometric capta.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSituating Data
Subtitle of host publicationInquiries in Algorithmic Culture
EditorsNanna Verhoeff, Karin van Es
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-485-5544-4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series



  • facial recognition
  • art
  • feminist data studies
  • capta
  • capture


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