Heewon Kim

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

2023 to 2024
Research Fellow

Coding Actions, Making Faces: Understanding the Human Through Faces 1960 – 2000

Coding Actions, Making Faces explores the emergence and development of the sciences and technologies for understanding human emotion with facial expressions throughout the second half of the 20th century. I argue that face-analyzing technologies reconfigured the human face into a codable entity, thus normalizing and legitimating the use of such intrusive techniques in analyzing every human being with a face. Drawing from the documents and films in the collections of psychologists, anthropologists, and computer scientists, along with institutional records, I will illustrate the cultural, intellectual, and institutional conditions in which documenting the movement of the human face was conceived as a desirable practice. Through this work, I hope to explore the historical and cultural implications of human-reading technologies in the data-driven informational world. I plan to use the collections at four Consortium member institutions which hold the materials of different regimes of face transcribing technologies.