PEOPLEText: Miwa Yokoyama

I feel that “VOICE | NOISE” has a similar concept, but please tell us about this work as well.

VOICE | NOISE” is a work created for noise canceling filters like “Focus Change”, but it focuses more on the experience in the city. “VOICE | NOISE” is a web application that can systematically hack the noise canceling filter called RN Noise used in distribution platforms such as OBS studios and manipulate the noise excluded by the noise canceling filter. This work provides an experience of listening to noise that cannot be heard by a normal system by operating the noise canceling filter, recording the sound, and sharing the sound.

You have produced many works that take advantage of the latest technologies such as AI. Please share your thoughts on how you decided to incorporate such things into your works, including how to understand AI and technology.

The reason why I started to create works that take advantage of technology is the slight discomfort I felt in my daily life. The reason for my work on the noise canceling filter was the moment when all the participants had the opportunity to applaud at the end of the online class, but I couldn’t hear the sound at all. By delving into the awareness that “I don’t think applause is noise, but why can’t I hear it now?” Then, I connected the thought to the production of the work. I think the beginning of my production activities is to persistently identify the sense of incongruity peculiar to technology that I didn’t notice because I usually use it as a matter of course.

Another interesting work was “UNLABELED — Camouflage against the machines”. Please tell us about this work as well.

UNLABELED — Camouflage against the machines” is a fashion style that is not recognized as human by surveillance cameras. This is remarkable in China, but there are increasing movements such as identifying individuals from surveillance cameras and applying camera images to connect to markets and purchasing habits. We have no means of protecting ourselves from that selfish exploitation. Therefore, we aimed to become a transparent human being on the data by wearing a pattern that does not make the image recognition system installed in the surveillance camera recognize us as human. For the image recognition system (model called “Yolo v2” in this work), I proceeded with machine learning so that the ratio of being recognized as human will be decreased. Then, I generated a textile with a noise pattern. By making clothes with the pattern, I succeeded in making people not be recognized as human. This garment is flashy and conspicuous to the eyes of us humans, but I think it is very interesting that it produces the contradictory results of being transparent when viewed through the eyes of a machine.

Please tell us about any projects or writers that inspired you, or if you have any daily inspiration.

Looking back, I think I was greatly influenced by film director Christopher Nolan and painter Maurits Escher. I think what they have in common is “structure.” Nolan’s work has a hierarchical structure in the tricks of the time axis, and the influence of the back side is visible and hidden on the front side. Escher’s work is famous as an optical illusion, but I find the relationship between “groups and individuals” interesting. Each element is completed, but the elements gradually influence each other, and the system as a whole is also completed. I think their work is wonderful because it has a betrayal and excitement in expression while having an axis in the structure of the foundation.

What’s your future prospects and vision?

I would like to continue to create works that take advantage of technology. Recently, I am interested in the problem of filter bubbles and the search system, which have become big problems in SNS. Therefore, I would like to create a work connecting with such aspects.
So far, I have been personally making productions and presentations while focusing on social systems. In the future, as a development, I would like to not only promote individual work production, but also develop it in an open form such as research and fieldwork targeting a certain city.

Text: Miwa Yokoyama
Translation: Yumiko Miyagawa

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