Interactive digital video installation that explores the potential impact of face transplants on appearance and identity. Other relevant details:
This research project explores the facial expression of human identity. Cover Story draws on 'real life' experiences of people
with facial differences and questions what the idea of living without a viable face means. This three-part video installation
examines the role of the face in human communication and dynamically investigates the implications of a face that cannot
express identity or emotion.
Controversial issues relating to facial appearance and loss of facial identity are here raised in accessible and non-threatening
ways suitable to a public site cutting across art, science and public contexts.
The installation was derived from research into the experience and science of facial disfiguration conducted with leading experts
including interviews with women with severe facial disfigurements, cosmetic plastic surgeons and transplant teams. The
interactive element of the installation involved innovative facial modelling using specially developed software. The project
involved technical research into the creation of a real-time interactive avatar and technical support from UCL, with some advice
from University of Surrey.
First seen in the context of a publicly sited art/science exhibition and especially created for BA Festival of Science 2006, the
Cover Story installation offers new and accessible ways of thinking about face transplants, a contentious issue in medical
science. The project has been presented in different forms: a gallery installation (Norwich, 2006, three artist show -
commissioned alongside Keith Piper and Simon Tegala with grant from Wellcome Trust), a forthcoming exhibition at
Fotofestival, Zaragoza, Spain, (2008); a conference presentation (University of Toronto, 2007). The project has led to ongoing
collaboration with Royal Free Plastic Surgery Unit to document a patient’s experience of a face transplant.
|Web address (URL)||http://www.makingfaces.org.uk|