15 Minutes of Biometric Fame not only highlights paradoxes associated with celebrity recognition within the entertainment industry and instant fame received through various Web 2.0 applications, but it playfully discredits the reliability of internet data bases by diffusing everyday individuals with ambiguous tagging back into the system.

Like Physiognomic Scrutinizer (2008 – 2009) and Mirror_Piece (2010 – 2011), 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame also incorporates face-recognition software employed in surveillance and security applications. In contrast, the design draws inspiration from camera dollies utilised in television and cinematography.

A circular track is fitted with a camera crane mounted with an independently operated camera. The camera lens imposes on public space, seeking out and scanning the visitor’s facial features. Rather than identifying a person, the biometric video analysis software assists in comparing their characteristics with a preselected data base of “celebrity” faces.

Compiled by De Nijs from a series of multilingual online search results, the initial 75,000 strong data bank consisted of typical celebrity personages as well as those who have attained fame through exposure on reality television and from the world of internet video. Each individual is tagged with one of twelve categories of stardom in one of eleven languages. These can range from artist to rock or porn star through to soap actor and musician.

Attached to the camera, an LCD monitor displays this matching process and those visitors who can be partnered as lookalikes to a data base celebrity are then projected on a large public screen. Not only are they similarly tagged but they are further identifiable with a generation label. A direct match with an original celebrity earns a 2nd generation tag. It follows that a comparison with subsequent generation levels moves you further down the lineage. This "ancestry of fame" is also displayed in its entirety.

Once a visitor is captured, matched and tagged, they are subsequently added to the continually expanding data base, uploaded to the internet and hence promoted to instant stardom. In this way, 15 Minutes of Biometric Fame is not only critiquing the act of “becoming famous”, but the precursor conditions for celebrity credibility as well.

15 minutes of biometric fame
15 minutes of biometric fame

15 minutes of biometric fame
15 minutes of biometric fame

Photos Deaf Festival Rotterdam, Jan Sprij. Photos NAMOC Beijing, Danwen Xing

Produced by Marnix de Nijs

V2_lab Rotterdam, NL
TASML, Beijing, CN

Software development: V2_lab, Artm Baguinsky, Rotterdam, NL

Many thanks to:
Peter van der Werve, Rotterdam, NL
Ming Ming Fan & Yu Zhong, Beijing, CN

Marnix de Nijs © 2022