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How Could We Rethink Facial Recognition Technology and Free Our Collective Data for Public Benefit?

26 Jul 2022


Built Works, 2021



The most powerful tools of control in our cities are algorithms. Facial recognition technology is every-where and increasingly monitors our access to public space. The Ministry of Collective Data wields this technology, determining the mood and behaviour of those who enter, but only with express consent. You must choose; surrender your data and participate as a citizen of the digital city or conceal yourself for the sake of personal anonymity.

There’s a CCTV camera for every 1 in 14 of us. If you take an hour’s walk you’re captured by 400 cameras. These systems are deeply influential on how we experience public space. The project is about providing a way through which people can have control over their data.

At a time when we have been forced to rely on digital activity, the ministry proposes a new public digital space with fair and transparent consent-based systems, offering all citizens access to their collective data and agency over how it is used.


Built Works is a creative practice exploring the intersection between art and architecture.

With a focus on emerging technologies and the impact of their use on citizens and the built environment, it constructs one-to-one working prototypes of concepts and systems in order to test ideas through physical experiment.

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