#6 Experimental Camera

Conventional cameras imitate the resolution, depth of field, and color range of the human eyes. The machine’s close resemblance to human biology and its claim to deliver objective reality camouflages the embedded biases in camera technology such as the unfortunate racial bias in the history of photography.


Design and code an experimental camera that expresses a novel way of capturing a body, a place, or an object.

Design process

I started with three sketches for what an experimental camera could look like. The first was inspired by a camera built by Lauren Mcarthy where groups of pixels are turned into black ellipses, creating an effect where a face is outlined by those ellipses and depth and detail are shown without color. I wanted to imagine what that might look like with a different shape other than ellipse; for example, what might it look like to have something familiar to us, our face, be constructed by many small brand logos in real time? The sketch would draw the shape every step, and the result would be, for example, many many nike logos moving with the face and its contours. I also thought it would be interesting to think about the computer's gaze. Inspired by Maya Man's project Glance Back and our work unpacking the ways in which computers reflect heteropatriarchal bias, I thought of the computer as something with a male gaze. If the computer had a male gaze, it might tell you smile. If AI scales human bias, does AI hate women? I thought that it would be interesting to use clmtrkr.js facial recognition software to create a camera that would only opperate in greyscale, insisting that the user smile before it functions properly. For my final sketch, I tried to magine a camera that could assist with dissociation or demonstrate the experience of dissociation. Often the result of trauma, dissociation is a break in how the mind handles information, causing a disconnect from feelings, surroundings, thoughts or identity. I decided to focus on depersonalization, a type of dissociation that causes a person to feel disconnected from their body. For now, my camera represents a user in a depersonalized state, with ghost like trails moving behind their pixelated image. In the future, I want to think about adding EMDR effects to this camera and changing the camera output based on the EMDR work the user has done.