What is more important? The technological device, the person, or the selfie? The artwork raises this question when facing the audience to take a selfie as part of an artistic installation -it is not just any digital self-portrait-. It is the creation of a new visual context – born from the research archives of the different departments of the EPN (Escuela Politécnica Nacional del Ecuador) – in an analog-digital-interactive piece.

Through the use of a deep convolutional network and the training of the algorithm with photographs of thousands of people, the program recognizes the person and isolates them from its background; creating a new picture, a real-time techno collage with the ability to be shared instantly through Instagram @epnselfie

The idea stems from a personal approach to the selfie as an object of self-significance, which goes beyond interactivity with human beings or what they do or understand about it.

Technical description:
The technical challenge of this project was to identify and classify an image in real-time (semantic segmentation). The model used is based on the methodology of L. Chen, G Papandreou (2016). This model builds a maximum-hope (EM) estimator from a semi-supervised learning process. It uses a deep convolutional network and training data set with hand-labeled images.

*This art piece was commissioned for the “Reprogramar la(s) Materia(s), an Art Show part of the celebrations for the 150 years of the creation of the EPN, October 2019.
“Object-selfie-machine” would not have been possible without the support, collaboration, and hard work of the following people:

Work team:
Scientific advisor
David Villacis, Doctoral Student in Applied Mathematics

Laboratories that provided the images:
Acoustics Laboratory – Pamela Rivera
Meb Demex – Alicia del Carmen Guevara
Paleontology – José Luis Román

With special thanks to:
Ana María Garzón Mantilla – Curator
Juan Carlos de los Reyes
David Villacis
Carla Manciati
María Fernanda Orquera
Allyson Villamar
Sergio Sarango