Eyes

Yoon Chung Han and Praful Surve

Artist Statement

Every biologic organism has a unique body pattern such as fingerprints, irises, palm prints, and faces. These distinct biometric patterns on the body represent a person’s unique signature and identity. They are intuitive and powerful resources that represent the individual’s genetic identity through its microscopic patterns and their complicated networks. Thus, these body patterns, known as biometric data, can provide a means not only for discovering our genetic code but also for exploring hidden narratives in relation with others. 

In this digital era, the main problems with the use of biometric data are the misuse of personal data and privacy issues since the data contains information acquired from individuals. Sometimes, biometric data can be stolen for other purposes or crimes, which is a source of great concern in society. Although people are afraid of having their biometric data stolen, the use of biometric data is becoming more commonplace in this era due to the ease and convenience it offers as a method of verifying an individual’s identity. 

As more digital applications request people to input their biometric data as a more convenient and secure method of identification, the possibility of losing their personal data and identities may increase. The phenomenon of biometric data abuse causes one to question what the notion of “real” identity means and what methods can be used to define identity and hidden narratives. The questions of identification and the insecurity of biometric data have become my inspiration, providing artistic approaches to the manipulation of biometric data and having the potential to suggest new directions for solving the problems. 

Eyes is an interactive art installation and a series of biometric data artworks with my previous artwork Digiti Sonus. It’s an interactive biometric data art that transforms human’s Iris data into musical sound and 3D animated image. The idea is to allow the audience to explore their own identities through unique visual and sound generated by their iris patterns based on iris recognition and image processing techniques. As a part of the installation, selected distinctive iris images are printed in 3D sculptures, and it replays the sound generated from the iris data and projects 3D converted image images. The audience members can compare their iris-based sonic results with others, and question the “problem of disembodied identities’ in the digital era through the existence of audiovisual representations of individuals. 

This research-based artwork has an experimental system generating distinct sounds for each different iris data using visual features such as colors, patterns, brightness and size of the iris. It has potentials to lead the new way of interpreting complicated dataset with the audiovisual output. More importantly, aesthetically beautiful, mesmerizing and a bit uncanny valley-effected artwork can create personalized art experience and multimodal interaction. Multi-sensory interpretations of the iris data art can lead a new opportunity to reveal users’ narratives and create their own “sonic signature”, which will be able to trigger a new way of interaction in the fields of art and science. 

Project Website

↳ http://yoonchunghan.com/portfolio/Eyes.html

Video Documentation
Artist Bios

Yoon C Han is an interactive media artist and award-winning interaction designer. Over the past ten years, she has created a wide range of interactive 2D/3D audiovisual art installations including biologic art using physical computing, web-based data visualization, biometric data sonification, generative art, and musical interface design. Her principal interest in interactive art/design has been in exploring new multimodal experience using the human body data and audiovisual components. She has investigated the new ways of visualizing sound and sonifying visuals in many different forms such as interaction design, data visualization/sonification, interactive art installations, and sound visualizations. Her recent research focus was on multimodal interactions using body data, in particular on creating a personalized experience in media arts using biometric data visualization and sonification. Her works have been presented in many international exhibitions, conferences and academic journals such as ACM SIGGRAPH Art gallery, Japan Media Arts Festival, London Science Museum, Media City Seoul, ZKM, NIME, ISEA, ACM Multimedia, IEEE Vis, and Leonardo Journal. 

She earned her bachelor and the first Master degree at the Seoul National University, and her second master degree at Design | Media Arts, University of California, Los Angeles. She worked at Samsung Electronics in S. Korea as a graphic designer and was a visiting researcher/data visualization specialist at SENSEable City Lab, MIT in Cambridge, MA. She holds Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently an assistant professor in the department of design in the San Jose State University. 

Praful Surve has worked in the field of programming, data structures, and algorithms optimization. He studied engineering in Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Mumbai. He recently achieved master’s degree in computer science at the California State University, Fullerton. Currently, he is a software consultant at Accutive in California, USA.