KAREN LANCEL & HERMEN MAAT  (Based in Netherlands)

How do we trust each other online? Do you need to see my eyes? Or do we need to touch? In our changing social eco-system we increasingly demand transparency, we cover our bodies with personal communication technologies; when defining our identities, our sensory abilities are replaced by social media, identification technologies and privacy filters. Can we touch each other to meet online?
Located in dynamic public spaces - museum hall, festival, city square – Saving Face is a smart meeting place for an intimate networking body experience.

The project uses your face as a tangible social interface. By touching and caressing your own face, you ‘paint’ your portrait on a large screen. On this screen your face merges with all other participants’ faces. By touching your face you compose a participatory identity, which further transforms through every new face-caressing act throughout the network, until the edges of individual identity begin to blur together, playfully mixing personal histories and cultural backgrounds in a growing database.

Production/Technical Design with: Mart van Bree Tim Olden, Sylvain Vriens, Matthijs ten Berge.

Saving Face by Karen Lancel & Hermen Maat during the Connecting Cities Event at Bauhaus Dessau 2013 © Ruthe Zuntz


Artist biography

Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat design objects, projections and digital networks to create ‘meeting places’ in city public spaces. These ‘meeting places’ are designed as seductive, visual performances and installations. Each ‘meeting place’ or social sculpture functions as an artistic social lab in which the artists invite their audience as co-researchers. The audience is invited to experiment and play with social technologies; and to reflect on their perception of the city, and their experience of body, presence, identity and community.

Through their artworks Lancel and Maat research contemporary social systems in a mediated society; in smart cities and augmented / immersive spaces. For every ‘meeting place’ they deconstruct existing communication technologies and strategies; and design a new innovative, integrated montage and process of embodied and virtual interaction. The 'meeting places' are shown internationally in dynamic urban public spaces such as museums, city squares, theatre halls, trains stations. They have shown work in Seoul, New York, Melbourne, Shanghai, Istanbul, Paris, London, Amsterdam, amongst others. Through audience interaction Lancel and Maat show social portraits of urban mediated life.


6-7.9.2013 DESSAU @ Bauhaus building - north wing facade, tbd.