Ibiye Camp, 2020
Behind Shirley deconstructs and rethinks the colonial narratives in the development of facial recognition systems, exploring how darker skin was not taken into account in film chemistry and is now ignored in facial-recognition software.
In photography, ‘Shirley cards’ were used as a standardised reference for colour-balancing skin tones. These cards generally showed a single Caucasian woman dressed in bright clothes, and coloured square blocks of blue, green and red. The chemicals distorted tones of red, yellow and brown, which led to faults when photographing darker skin. Film was not improved until furniture and chocolate makers began complaining that it was unable to capture the difference in wood grains and chocolate types. The default towards lighter skin in technology is still present today, with facial recognition occasionally not registering people of colour.
The algorithmic bias that exists in digital-imaging technology is due to human biases. When trying to make artificial intelligence, we inevitably recreate human intelligence. AI finds patterns from within pools of data, reflecting our own behaviour and often exacerbating its negative aspects. Empathy has a growing importance in artificial intelligence, datasets and algorithms, fields whose inherent perspectives require further interrogation.
The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation’s Orientalist Painting Collection includes two children’s portraits that are often featured in exhibitions on the second floor of the Pera Museum. These portraits both date back to the early 20th century, and were made four years apart. One depicts Prince Abdürrahim Efendi, son of Sultan Abdulhamid II, while the figure portrayed on the other is Nazlı, the daughter of Osman Hamdi Bey.
Our Doublethink Double vision exhibition’s title alludes to George Orwell’s seminal work 1984 and presents a selection that includes Tracey Emin, Marcel Dzama, Anselm Kiefer, Bruce Nauman, Raymond Pettibon, and Thomas Ruff, as well as Turkish artists, tracing the steps of pluralistic thought through works of art.
Following the opening of his studio, “El Chark Societe Photographic,” on Beyoğlu’s Postacılar Caddesi in 1857, the Levantine-descent Pascal Sébah moves to yet another studio next to the Russian Embassy in 1860 with a Frenchman named A. Laroche, who, apart from having worked in Paris previously, is also quite familiar with photographic techniques.
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