No Faces, Just Filters

Online Talk with Alla Pop & Philisha Kay

2021 Online Talk
Moderation: Aron Woldamlak
Online Talk via Zoom

Freckles in the winter, perfect soft-focus complexion or quaintly wiggling rabbit ears—anyone who has ever had a smartphone in their hand is probably acquainted with one of these face filter classics. For many users, virtual camera filters are simply an entertaining way to stage themselves. Others criticize the technology for transporting unrealistic beauty ideals that can drive young people in particular into a self-optimization craze.

Apart from the mainstream, there have long been more complex perspectives on the face-filter technology that go far beyond the question of beauty. For Alla Popp and Philisha Kay, the guests of this edition of #variousartists, it is part of a (queer-)feminist artistic practice. Alla Popp, media and performance artist from Russia, is interested in how digital technologies and the attendant phenomena and theories shape our visions of the future. Philisha Kay, artist, curatorial assistant and member of the dgtl fmsnm collective that stands for feminist, queer and tech-positive perspectives on technological narratives, deals with (post-human) identity and the queer-feminist use of technology.

Aron Woldamlak speaks with them about the possibilities that face filters offer for the digital performance of our identities. What emancipatory potentials are opened for whom? And what pitfalls can an uncritical appropriation of technology entail, especially in regard to the performance of race and gender?