Lend Me Your Face: Go Fake Yourself! | Tamiko Thiel

Greta Thumberg: We are at the beginning of a mass extinction!
All you can talk about is money, and fairytales of eternal economic growth
Boris Johnson: This is the dawn of a new era!
David AttenboroughWhat we do in the next few years will determine the next few thousands years!
Queen Elisabeth IIWe will see our families again, we will see our friends again, we will meet again!

Lend Me Your Face: Go FakeYourself!, 2021, is a net art intervention by Tamiko Thiel in collaboration with “/ p”, that evolves from the Artificial Intelligence intervention project commissioned in 2020 by The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

In Lend Me Your Face!, a deepfake and open source neural network framework animates photographs of the faces of ordinary people according to the facial movements and expressions of prominent international public figures. The visitor is confronted with how the most intimate and yet public part of himself, the face and the emotions it expresses, can be easily manipulated, and placed in contexts beyond his control.

The installation by Thiel and “/p” invites the public to directly experience the possibilities and risks of giving someone the control of their face, their image, their statements, losing for a few moments, in a controlled environment, their individuality and become part of a larger “collective body” that assumes, albeit in an awkward and imperfect way, the voice of a single character who can be identified as “positive” or “negative”. However, this is not a warning against absolute surveillance or an invitation to root for one or the other famous person, but also a reflection on the importance of being part of the chorus of activists who are fighting to change things in the world, under every flag: Lend Me Your Face is in fact a reinterpretation of a verse of Julius Caesar by Shakespeare pronounced by Mark Anthony “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!”, we are thus urged to become members of that political body which is active citizenship.

©Tamiko Thiel in collaboration with “/p”, Lend Me Your Face: Go FakeYourself!, 2021, still