An old proverb goes “the face is the index of the mind”. It’s inarguable in its logic. A face smiles when feeling good, frowns when not so. And does something in-between when feeling, well, in-between. But to project a collective index via facial expression, in the case of an entire city’s mood for example, one would need to construct something of note, visible to all, happy or sad, near or far.
Artists Richard Wilhelmer, Julius von Bismarck, and Benjamin Maus, have embarked on an art installation that manages to capture and display the cumulative mood of a city. The trio has installed a giant face icon called ‘fuehlometer’ (‘feel-o-meter’) or ‘public face’ on the top of a lighthouse on Lindau Island in Germany. A face-detecting camera records the faces of passersby and obtains data. That data is collected and shared via a computer program utilizing facial recognition software. Then an algorithm determines, in real-time, the happiness index of the city and that data is reflected in a smile, frown or indifferent facial expression in the 8 meters tall, neon and steel tube face atop the lighthouse.
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