Mapping Our Digital Cage / by Jesse Russell Brooks

Image from Taly Oehler's ongoing photography series Digital Cage. 

Image from Taly Oehler's ongoing photography series Digital Cage. 

Los Angeles, California - Visual artist Taly Oehler in collaboration with filmmaker Jesse Russell Brooks have completed a new iteration of images for Oehler's photography series Digital Cage. Partly inspired by Ava Du Vernay’s documentary about incarceration titled 13th; Digital Cage investigates restrictions that facial mapping and data collection may have on our psyche.

The photo series is conceptualized through a collection of portraits that echo the fervor of early 20th century anthropological imagery. Although Oehler’s Digital Cage doesn’t rely on solely physical characteristics as she sets her models apart.  Her team develops an extraordinarily precise digital mask to place upon the face of each model. 

Artistic director Tammy Barack designs these masks in collaboration with the model and photographer to visually represent how we may be “caged” by our electronic society.  The design is achieved by examining biometric points of one's face as a computer would map a facial structure. The points are then adjusted, augmented and re-imagined to reflect the model's technological personality.

Biometric Facial Points. Each point represents a person's unique biological property.

Biometric Facial Points. Each point represents a person's unique biological property.

There are no limits when examining the factors and ideas that influence the creation of an image during the workshop.  Constructive dialogue is greatly encouraged as the production design and the masks are being developed.  Topics such as genealogy, censorship, self-improvement and awareness quickly evolve to include issues such as gentrification, consumerism, and commercialism.

The observations made throughout the discussion are keenly woven into a portrait that may contradict, camouflage, or celebrate the model's self-expressed Digital Cage.  Though, the final images that emerge from the process allows both the model and artist to regain a sense of power over their identity as it is expressed, mapped, and the shared into cyberspace.

The notes, designs, and expressions that aid the construction of each masks are archived as part of the project.

If you would like to participate or have some insight regarding Digital Cage that you would like to share with the artists please contact Taly Oehler's studio.

For more information on Taly Oehler's and her work as a visual artist please visit:

www.talyoehler.com.