Human Identification at a Distance


Human Identification at a Distance is a set of video projections, which explore notions of self determination and social responsibility. The video features two costumed characters, ‘The Activist’ and ‘Authority’, who attempt, through a series of spoken word monologues, to communicate with each other across an unnamed and contested space. The characters use megaphones to deliver texts that are both poetic and political; confessing feelings, confronting fears, and exploring the internal impulses and external pressures that shape individual identities and communal ideals.

The work is named after a security program developed by the U.S. Information Awareness Office actually called – Human Identification at a Distance, which employs biometric systems, i.e. face and voice recognition, racial identification markers, etc., in order to: “… identify humans as unique individuals (not necessarily by name)…at any time of the day or night … possibly alone, disguised or in groups…”.

In the video, The Activist and Authority use language as a means to probe, measure and interrogate, questioning each other’s motivations and ultimately, seeking their own understanding of the nature of power, protest and morality.

Originally presented as a performance piece, with the video projection of Human Identification at a Distance and the ensuing dialogue, My Name Is Scot & Leannej hope to support a multi-layered examination of the mediated self and the psychic parameters that define or disrupt the spaces and structures of public discourse. While at the Sofia Art residency, the artists will be working alongside Bulgarian writers and actors to translate and re- transmit the video dialogue, creating in effect, both subtitles and a spoken word performance of the texts in Bulgarian, adding another layer of site-specific, public discourse.

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