Satire essay on online dating
In approaching this question I uncover how gay men have produced their own norms and standards of representation online.
This is further considered through the structure of faciality as an algorithmic phenomenon.
These images rely on projection rather than reality; they are reflective surfaces.
This extends to profile information as well as imagery.
To break out of the frustrating cycle of these apps as an artist, I turn to satire and digital artwork that involves subversion of the Grindr ‘face.’ I like to refer to my facial subversions as “caricatures” because they extend or violently reduce essential qualities in representations of Grindr as a system (while not critiquing the individuals using it).
Here, a caricature could be seen as a satirical version of a fascistic essentialization.
, we might think to ourselves whilst browsing this multiplicity.
I believe that Grindr’s standards are in part arrived at through this extensive self-averaging-out that occurs when huge numbers of users present themselves for sexual exchange through ‘poker facing’. Here, this refers to users rapidly processing and judging the masses of Grindr images they view, aided by, but not entirely because of, machines.Faces are recognised in terms of their deviation from a standard arrangement of these darker areas of contrast (eyes, mouth, nostrils) upon a lighter surface (cheeks, chin, forehead).Oddly, although written in relation to human perception, we can easily today refer to machines that also recognise faces this way, through arrangements of contrasting pixels in a camera image, or .Machines learn to interpret faces by parsing as many images of faces as they can. If “the face” is a way of organising contrasts (or contrasting pixels) on a grid so that they represent a face, then we can refer to deviations in the arrangement of contrasts that move faces further from a norm that is recognisable or acceptable.If human users repeatedly affectively process similar faces then that composite ‘face’ must inform desirable standards in their mind. A face-recognising machine can say, “yes, it is a face” or “no, it is not a face” about any image given to it in rapid succession.