Michael, 2020-2021

Installation trying to find Michael.

An installation trying to find Michael with the help of unprotected surveillance cameras

My sister and artist Bieke Depoorter met Michael on the streets of Portland, Oregon in 2015. After their brief encounter, he gave her three suitcases full of scrapbooks, collages, essays and more and disappeared shortly after. Bieke started to investigate his disappearance and understand his life. With this installation I help my sister to find Michael from a distance using artificial intelligence and facial recognition software. I built a program that analyses unsecured surveillance cameras in locations where Michael might reappear. 248 photographs of Michael—some made by Bieke, some given to her by Michael himself—have been uploaded to the program so that it can recognise his face. The installation shows the surveillance feeds and scanning process in real time. If Michael is found, the program will immediately alert Bieke and the audience.

commissioned by

  • NRW-Forum Düsseldorf