Portraits of No One

Sérgio Rebelo

Portraits of No One is an interactive installation that explores content generation in the borderline between the real and the artificial. In its space, photo-realistic portraits (portraits of no one) are generated and exhibited based on the facial features of the people who interact with the installation and, consequently, feed it.

This way, the installation, along with the artificial content generated by it, is designed to encourage critical thinking about how recent technological advances are changing our relationship with other people and the world.

This installation was exhibited in a room specifically made for the purpose, with 6 meters long by 4 meters wide. In the room, an immersive video projection of 12 meters wide on three walls presents an array of synthesised portraits with a size similar to real faces.

The portraits are automatically created through a generative system that blends parts of different faces (eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth). The faces are photographed in the space of the installation using a tailor-made capturing box attached to a pillar in the middle of installation (in front of projections).

Also, this capturing box also records a sound sample during each face capturing. Multiple sound samples are then randomly combined to generate ambient sound. This enables the installation to maintain an ever-changing audio-visual environment consisting of ephemeral portraits that are projected on the walls combined with intertwined sounds produced by the real people behind those portraits.

Portraits of No One was specially created for Sonae Media Art 2019 Award and it was selected as finalist work, thus being exhibited at the National Museum of Contemporary Art — Museu do Chiado (MNAC), in Lisbon, from late November 2019 to early February 2020.

More information at https://cdv. dei. uc. pt/portraits-of-no-one/

Sérgio Rebelo (Ovar, Portugal, 1993) is a Portuguese graphic designer. Currently, it is a researcher and PhD candidate at the Cognitive and Media Systems group of the Centre for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra (Portugal). He has worked in collaboration with some Portuguese graphic design studios and cultural and architecture entities such as Anozero – Biennale of Contemporary Art of Coimbra, Caminhos Film Fest, Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra, College of the Arts…

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