September 6, 2018 headhoncho


6th September 2018


The work uses computational neuroscience algorithms to question processes of facial recognition systems, asks visitors to the gallery to become part of the work   

Internationally known artist and Dartmouth College Professor Mary Flanagan’s software driven participatory artwork [help me know the truth] has been honoured with an Award of Distinction at the highly prestigious Prix Ars Electronica digital art competition/festival in Austria as part of the Cyberarts 2018 Prix Ars Electronica Exhibition. In each of its seven categories, the Prix juries award one overall Golden Nica, two Awards of Distinction, and honorary mentions. Flanagan’s work in the Interactive Arts + category will be on exhibit at the OK Culture Centre (OK Offenes Kulturhaus) in Linz in conjunction with the Ars Electronica Festival 6-10 September 2018, and for the rest of the month. Flanagan will be presented with the award 8th September at a Gala opening.

This year’s Ars Electronica Festival with its theme Error – The Art of Imperfection, brings to the fore the “phenomenology of erring”, approaches to conquering new risks and looking at differing perspectives on erring in various disciplines and practical fields. The Prix Forum holds talks and lectures with jury members and award winners together;  the Interactive Art + category featuring Flanagan will be held on Saturday 9th September.

Flanagan’s piece premiered in Asturias, Spain at the Laboral Art Center as part of the Monsters of the Machine exhibition, 18 November 2016 – August 2017 and subsequently at the Art|Sci Gallery UCLA, in March 2018. Visitors to the work take a photograph selfie and become part of the work as their images is doctored with different noise algorithms that might or might not best fit randomly assigned categories about them. Visitors are asked to ‘choose the criminal’ or ‘select the victim’ among these doctored photographs, being changed and altered through the process of user input. The work explores how computational neuroscience techniques can uncover the categorizing systems of the mind, and how they are therefore subject to socially constructed fears and values. The work further calls into question notions of truth. Do we trust computers to categorize our appearance? Who is categorizing the categories by which we trust, make arrests, find criminals, and so on?

Flanagan has enjoyed a successful year, being one of two scholars who received a 2018 Arts Writing in Digital Arts award from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation “in recognition of her sustained dedication to the field as an established arts writer”. Read more about this honor in the Dartmouth News. In addition to this recognition, Flanagan was also selected to be a resident at The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2019.

From Linz, Flanagan’s work will travel to Beijing to further celebrate its place of honor at the Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing for the exhibition “Future Humanity- Our Shared Planet” to be on display from &th November 2018 to 28th February 2019.

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MARY FLANAGAN ( is an artist and inventor who was in 2018 an invited cultural leader at the World Economic Forum. Her artwork has shown in the Whitney Biennial, the LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Spain, the Guggenheim New York, The Museum of Fine Arts Cologne, ZKM | Center for Art and Media Germany, and at galleries, museums, and festivals in Hong Kong, The Netherlands, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and more. Flanagan holds and MFA from the University of Iowa, a PhD from the University of the Arts, London, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Design from Illinois Tech. She also holds the position of the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College, USA