Stolen Identity

Otis Book Fair Attendees Participate in a Collaborative Publication

Text by Christina Huang • Photos by Emma Berliner and Christina Huang

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Unsuspecting print-lovers volunteered to having their identity “taken” at the CalArts booth during the most recent Art Book Fair at Otis College of Art and Design in July 2018.

Emma Berliner (MFA 1), Christina Huang (MFA 2), and Vivian Naranjo Martin (MFA 2) invited visitors of the fair to participate in a performative and collaborative publication/social experiment they called Face Book. Over the two days of the event, the designers tried to open up every stage of the making process to peers, friends, and strangers in attendance at the book fair.

Through the creation of an on-site photobooth-meets-hacked-scanner-demo experience, visitors on the first day of the fair were given an opportunity to have their portraits taken. Once the portrait image was captured, the photo was sent to the CalArts print lab where the publication was being produced simultaneously on a Risograph machine (all viewable via a live-feed video at the print fair). The resulting Riso image was then scanned and emailed back to the alarmingly accommodating visitor.

Each individual portrait, bound together on the same day that they were taken, formed a literal book of faces that was exhibited and sold at the second day of the fair. While the publication parodied Facebook’s facial recognition technology and the precarious state of data security, Face Book is a tangible document of the people who participated in this project; a collective effort, over the course of one day, preserved within a publication.