Boogaloo Bias

Interactive Artwork

2021 - ongoing

Boogaloo Bias is an interactive artwork that highlights some of the known problems with law enforcement agencies’ use of facial recognition technologies, including the practice of ‘brute forcing’ where, in the absence of high-quality images of a suspect, agents have been known to substitute images of celebrities the suspect is reported to resemble. The Boogaloo Bias facial recognition algorithm is trained on faces of characters from the 1984 movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. The film is the namesake for the Boogaloo Bois, an anti-law enforcement militia that emerged from 4chan meme culture and has been present at US protests since January 2020. The system uses movie character faces to brute force the generation of leads to find members of the Boogaloo Bois in live video feeds, videos of protest footage, and images uploaded to the Boogaloo Bias website. All matches made by the system are false positives. No images or information is saved or shared in either the live or online version of the project.

Boogaloo Bias was commissioned by Science Gallery Detroit and funded by Northeastern University's Modes of Address/Redress seed funding grant from the College of Arts, Media and Design. The project is a collaboration with Derek Curry.

Boogaloo Bias installation at Tracked and Traced (2021), Science Gallery Detroit