Photo: Jim Wileman.

Poignant new art display shines spotlight on risks to civil liberties posed by facial recognition technology 

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 9:30am

The intrinsic danger that facial recognition technology could pose to civil liberties and freedoms has been highlighted in a new, hard-hitting art display.

Renowned Devon artist and printmaker Catherine Cartwright has created the thought-provoking and emotional exhibition, entitled Brave New World, which questions the role of automated facial technology in potentially stifling protests and demonstrations.

Working with six Devon residents, who have each taken part in protests before, Catherine has created a series of portraits in the form of placards, which shine a light on the impact technology brings on those who choose to voice their concerns through public remonstrations.

Funded by University of Exeter Arts and Culture, the moving exhibition will be on public display at the Make Tank contemporary performance hub, in Exeter, until November 21st.

Catherine is a multi-disciplinary artist, working primarily with printmaking, drawing and film, to explore some of the world’s most pressing and controversial socio-political issues.

Her latest work was commissioned by the University of Exeter's Arts and Culture team to explore the theme of 'Urgency'.

Speaking about her work, Catherine explained: “Gathering with others who share your concerns, in a public place - to stand up, be counted and call for change - is fundamental to how societies make choices that change lives for the better.

“But what if this tool for change is thwarted? Automatic facial recognition technology (AFR) is fast becoming a way to instil borders and control in a fast-moving fluid world, including its use in public spaces. I wanted to explore the impact on our motivation to protest if we know AFR is present, and therefore capturing and assessing our facial features.”

The University of Exeter’s Arts and Culture Strategy celebrates the University’s outstanding contributions to arts and culture in Devon and Cornwall. It promotes international cultural relationships and dialogues, through highly-ranked arts research and teaching, practice and performance.

The University’s staff and students create partnerships and engage with the arts community through galleries, museums, theatres and literature festivals. Find out more about the Arts and Culture strategy on the Arts and Culture website.

The Brave New World exhibition is on display at the Make Tank, Exeter, until 21st November.

For more information about her work, please visit her website ( , while more information about the commission can be found here:

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