Tyler Henry is an artist and coder working at the intersection of media history, database aesthetics, and interaction design. His work primarily explores mappings between bodies, machines, cinema, and surveillance. He holds a BA in cultural theory from Brown and has worked in media art production for artists, museums, and galleries since 2007.
Combining human and computer vision, Eyeline Match is a film that edits itself as you watch.
As embedded video cameras saturate our daily lives, the established language of cinema is yielding to a new network of encoded image-streams. The gaze, mechanized in the 20th century, has become digitized in the 21st. It is becoming a type of sensory technology that empowers algorithms to scrape the physical world for quantitative input. Each of us, as we pass under surveillance satellites or simply take a selfie, is reflected as an actor in this new global database narrative. Our images become identities that circulate from camera, to algorithm, to eye, and back again.
Eyeline Match traces this evolution of the gaze from cinema to the emerging era of intelligent sensing machines. The project is a personalized “smart film” that edits itself based on how it is watched. Using gaze-tracking hardware, the viewer’s eye-movements are monitored and analyzed by machine learning algorithms that detect patterns of visual interest, and search a database of iconic cinematic imagery to generate subsequent frames of the film. The viewer gradually becomes aware of how the algorithms’ decisions correspond to his or her own activity of seeing. In the end, the viewer must learn to navigate the gaze in order to become a user.