With its idyllic pebble beaches and the famous »Promenade des Anglais«, the Riviera city of Nice is one of the most popular holiday destinations among wealthy tourists. However, the picturesque city has been undergoing a structural transformation for some years now: it has become a dystopian crime-fighting laboratory due to the widespread use of CCTV cameras and facial recognition technologies. The aim of the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who has been in power since 2008, is to improve »safety and calm on the streets« and thus to promote the city as an exemplary and avantgarde model for a »Safe City« in France. As part of the »Safe City« agreement, the first facial recognition test was carried out in 2019 during the famous »Carnaval de Fleurs«.

Today, the country’s fifth largest city in terms of population is de facto the »most watched city in France«. More than 2,600 cameras have been installed on the street - one for every 128 inhabitants, thus an increase of 1111% since 2007.

Based on Adam Harvey’s style tips against facial recognition technologies, the speculative game »Devine Tête - Version Nice« was designed as a fictional, special edition to the game series »Devine Tête Grands Classiques«, »Nomade (Jeu de Voyage)« and »Mimes (Jeu de Société)« already marketed by Megableu.

The players attach a card with the name of a famous person to each other’s foreheads and have to guess who they are at the moment. For this special edition, an extra image of the area between the nose, eyes and forehead of each famous person has been printed on the back of the cards, which is an essential feature for OpenCV’s face recognition algorithm. By covering one’s own nose-eye-forehead area with that of a celebrity, the game becomes a wearable against the facial recognition technologies introduced in Nice. This creates infinite alternative identities, subversive-activist hybrid beings.

Exhibitions: SNOOZE, Project Statement Frappant e.V.; Parallel Vienna, Vienna (AT)
Stefano Dealessandri Works Info Imprint
Devine Tête—Version Nice Speculative Game 2019