The Functionality of Futuristic Makeup

If popular culture and movies are to believed, in the future we will all sport funky makeup and hairdos, especially those of us on the fringes of society. A simple google image search for “futuristic makeup” will provide a number of examples of the trope.

However, as we start to approach what may reasonably be called a futuristic society — where everyone carries a pocket computer that can call and navigate anywhere, translate text in real time, instantly look up any piece of information and a whole host of other previously inconceivable capabilities, among many other technological wonders at our fingertips — I think it’s amazing that some of the purely artistic interpretations of the future could actually become highly utilitarian, particularly for the types of people so often depicted in pop culture as wearing “crazy futuristic” makeup and hairstyles.

What kind of utility could such outlandish stylistic choices provide? Fooling facial recognition software, of course! Enter cvdazzle.com, a project by Adam Harvey that takes inspiration from the dazzle camouflage of WWI naval ships. The dazzle camouflage went out of style for the navy when radar became common, and I wonder if the cvdazzle makeup might suffer similarly due to 3d cameras such as the Kinect. In any event, next time I watch blade runner, I won’t think that Pris’ makeup is weird. It isn’t: It’s urban camouflage in the computer vision age.

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