Double Consciousness

Is an interactive experience that reveals the ways in which the American system judges skin color... and questions it.

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Role: Interactive Installation, User Experience Design, Programming,
Tools Used: Processing, Adobe Illustrator, Processing, Mirrors, Monitor

Concept Video

Context

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There is a three-part progression which leads to the mental and physical instability of the black mind and body. 

Surface Judgments. This form of judgment is the root of the oppression of black bodies. What is most noticeable on the surface is color. 

Double Consciousness. Double consciousness is the idea that as a black American, we can not live our lives expecting others to see the way we see ourselves. We have to consider how the “other” sees and perceives us in order to survive within the American way of life. 

Body Dysmorphia. Body dysmorphia is a mindset where an individual mainly sees flaws within their physical appearance. As black Americans, body dysmorphia is a mindset we are born with and sadly its manifestation within our brains can be enhanced by the “other’s” perception of black bodies. This three-part progression leads to one common conclusion, that black minds and bodies are not safe in America.

Intention

My intention is for people to be more aware of the realities behind how the color of their skin reflects the implicit biasses that people and systems place on each other.

Ideation

This was an emotional process. 


I started with wanting to create a VR experience that shows the different angles of a protest, in order to show how a black individual living in America needs to understand how others might perceive them. Having it be a VR experience would make people feel the anxiety, fear, confusion, and assumption made on both sides of a protest. 

With feedback that, idea crashed and burned. Then finding solace in my Fine Arts and Art History background, I thought to turn this into an installation. 

With the installation idea, I knew I wanted to implement mirrors because mirrors are an object that shows you who you are without judgment.

You first approach the mirrors on the wall and look at yourself. 

You then go behind the monitor and place your hands in front of the camera. The screen in front of you asks the question, "Living in America is my life in danger?" 

Once the surveillance system collects and determines the result of your skin color, the screen will then navigate you to a web page that proves why you are either, 'Unsafe' | 'Good to Stay' | 'Nah Your Safe' | through data.

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I want to use computer vision to reflect the lense that the American system uses when it sees skin color.

Experience

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Prototypes

I went on to prototype the technology side of the experience. Knowing that I wanted a surveillance piece to this installation I started working with: ml5, javascript, Openframeworks, Unity.

User Testing​

Thanks for starting the conversation

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In some way can you capture images of people and place it next to the results?

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Wow, I didn't know my skin tone might be perceived as being Asian.

Copyright © 2020 Milan Gary

Developed and Designed by Milan Gary

milangarydesigns@gmail.com.