School for Poetic Computation, November 2017
A single, thin, white line runs horizontally across a black screen. When the viewer steps in front of it, the line transforms, wriggling into the the shape of the viewer’s face. The sketch tracks every eye, mouth, and jaw movement, acting as a digital mirror to create a living illustration. When the viewer steps away, the portrait disappears, slowly melting into its original position.
“What’s My Line” is made in OpenFrameworks, the product of 350 lines of code that creates the organic reflections and mutations of the viewer’s facial features. It uses a webcam and face tracking software to capture critical points on the face, which are then connected in a specific order to form a single line. With a few math equations and physics principles, this line is gently molded and distorted, fluctuating between order and chaos. It is intrinsically interactive - no output exists without the input of a human audience.

Inspired by the everyday sketches she makes on paper, the artist chose to create a piece that best reflected her unique drawing style. The result is an experience both uncanny and anonymized, as the viewer strives to recognize the outline of their own face in a new form. Through the piece, the author examines the relationship between computer and artist, and how the two seemingly disparate entities can be united to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Above all, it is an exploration of the boundaries between code and creativity, nonhuman and human, and - quite literally - the fine line between where one’s identity ends and the next one begins.
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