Title: Body Computer Leakage: Unveiling the Fractured Reality of Female Beauty Standards

K. S.
4 min readJun 30, 2023

body computer leakage | a digital performance by kathi schulz

sponsored by NRW Kultursekreteriat Wuppertal

In a world where technology continuously shapes our perception of beauty, body computer leakage guides the viewer through the intricate and complex layers of the misogynistic dynamics in the digital age. A space in which the boundaries between the virtual and physical are blurred, and the augmented self becomes a distorted reflection of society’s beauty ideals.

Upon entering this digital domain, viewers are invited to activate their webcam, initiating a transformative experience. AR (Augmented Reality) filter, meticulously modifying one’s features, scrutinizing current standards of beauty.

video still, body computer leakage, 2022

A deep learning algorithm examines the viewer’s reactions in real-time, capturing the micro-expressions that give away one’s emotional state. This analysis acts as a key: Unlocking the portal to a curated collection of short video collages that dissect the development of female beauty ideals through the lens of the “male gaze”. These visual and auditory compositions weave together archival footage, scientific studies, radio recordings, and newspaper articles.

The digital performance invites the viewer to an immersive experience where the viewer and performer seamlessly intertwine. The viewer steps into the role of both: the observer and the observed. The traditional power dynamics between artist and spectator dissolve. The collaborative nature of the project emerges as viewers become co-authors, breathing life into the work itself. The visitor’s engagement is integral to the performance.

screenshot, AR filter, body computer leakage, 2022

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, body computer leakage illuminates the profound impact of digital technology on our perception of self and identity. By harnessing machine vision, pattern recognition, and AR filters, this project investigates the connection between the human body and technology.

video still, body computer leakage 2022

Through this exploration, body computer leakage raises poignant questions about the social systems and capitalist power structures that underpin our digital existence. It unveils the potential consequences of an oppressive patriarchal society and the difficulties of using algorithms to decipher the complexities of human behavior. The project also serves as a stark reminder that our current understanding of neuroscience and computer science is but a fraction of the vast expanse of human cognition and consciousness.

The piece is an immersive experience that challenges viewers to reevaluate their understanding of beauty in the digital age. In a society where social media platforms are saturated with filtered images and carefully curated selfies body computer leakage prompts us to question the authenticity of our online personas. The filter forces us to confront our own participation in shaping our digital identities and the consequent impact on our self-esteem and body image.

image source: subliminalhacking.net

The real-time analysis of viewers’ reactions not only demonstrates the power of technology to decode human emotions but also underscores the potential for technology to intrude into our most intimate spaces. The project raises questions about privacy and the extent to which we are willing to share our emotional responses with digital entities.

The curated video collages that explore the development of female beauty ideals through the lens of the “male gaze” are both informative and provocative. By weaving together historical footage, scientific research, radio recordings, and news articles, the project provides a historical context for the evolution of beauty standards. It highlights how these standards have often been influenced by patriarchal perspectives, shedding light on the underlying dynamics of misogyny that persist in our digital age.

As we continue to grapple with the societal implications of digital technology and its role in shaping our perceptions of beauty body computer leakage serves as a powerful reminder that the impact of technology goes far beyond the superficial. It challenges us to examine our own complicity in perpetuating beauty ideals and encourages us to consider the consequences of an increasingly digital existence. The project is a beacon in the realm of digital art, pushing boundaries and provoking thoughtful conversations about the complex relationship between human identity, technology, and beauty.

This project is part of the Digital Performance grant sponsored by Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen & NRW Kultursekreteriat Wuppertal.