│Vadim Neklyudov works as a graduate assistant for the Department of Media at a German University of Applied Sciences. His talks are focused on the topics of sociological technology studies and biometrics. Currently he writes a paper about the mythology of dwarves in role-playing games.

Anti facial recognition culture in comics and mangas

The individual seems powerless against surveillance by facial recognition. Having a non-readable face can be a straight way into fines and prison. Historically even cultural events that offered the opportunity to mass obstruct own visages were governed. The wearing of masks in Venice quickly became regulated as it should remain a culture celebrated only by the rich.1 In the 1930s Germany masked citizens participating in the Carnival had to pin on a number for easy identification if misbehavior occurred.2 Till today the constant dodging of facial surveillance might not be successful in the real world. As the iconic mask of Batman can tell, that is not be the case for neither comics nor mangas. Batman and other superheroes constantly dodge the surveillance apparatus by protecting their faces. In mangas like “Hunter x Hunter” a culture of disguised faces can be found.3 Two questions come into mind: How do the heroes of international comics circumvent facial recognition? Three major techniques can be observed – clothing or devices, superpowers and social engineering. Can citizens and artists learn some anti facial recognition ruses from comics or is it the other way around? It seems to be the last as comics started to reference CV Dazzle, an art project engaged in the sabotage of machine readable faces.4 There is still much to learn from the culture of anti facial recognition.