By: Selin Dursun

Time Frame: Oct 2021 - Dec 2021
Keywords: Film, Installation, Interactive Art, Public Engagement, Public Art, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Open CV, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere​​​​​​​
MIVACT is a mnemonic for the neglected labor in the agriculture and livestock industry and pursues to be a dedication to the human or non-human “workers” lost in the façade of the consumable end product. As Carol J. Adams (2008) points out, the “absent referent” is the alienation of the final product from its source and the fact that it has almost no connection with the source or the workmanship anymore (The Sexual Politics of Meat). For instance, the absent referent of tenderloin is the animal that once lived with its body. However, when does the link between the end product and the animal (or the labor behind the artifact) evaporate? Is it possible for the end product to emphasize what is neglected and make it visible?    ​​​​​​​
Sink your teeth into the succulent beef sandwich.
As the first bite unravels, the vibrant tang of the tomato instantly awakens your senses, tantalizing your taste buds. Amidst this culinary masterpiece, the bold experimentation of walnut pieces adds a delightful surprise, mingling with fresh vegetables.
Yet, pause for a moment and ponder this:
The journey that brought this sandwich to your plate was far from ordinary. The cow that yielded this meat traveled an arduous six hundred miles to reach its final destination. A mere "living product" of a faceless brand, it met its fate, meticulously dismantled only a day prior.​​​​​​​
Consider the tomato, plucked by the weathered hands of a forty-five-year-old low-income worker. In his humble abode, he cherished the day he handed over those tomatoes to the transporter. However, the transporter's weariness was evident. Bound by the relentless demands of his laborious profession, he had been separated from his family for an agonizing four months.
Then there were the walnuts, painstakingly cracked by two tireless women. Their hands grew weary and calloused as they toiled, selling most of their yield to an unfamiliar company while reserving a few fragments for themselves. 
And it was within the confines of that scaffolding public installation, a sanctuary you sought solace in, that you bore witness to these intertwining stories.
This architectural installation serves as an illuminating testament to the pervasive issue of labor invisibility, drawing attention to the toiling agriculture workers and unyielding transporters who remain unseen and unacknowledged. By juxtaposing the viewer's image with that of these industrious individuals, a profound cognitive shift occurs, evoking a heightened state of awareness. Leveraging the capabilities of machine learning, we employ advanced techniques to extract the viewer's silhouette from the frame and seamlessly superimpose it onto the video display, thus manifesting an interactive shadow exhibit. This deliberate choice of showcasing shadows on the documentary screen is made to ensure the privacy of participants, while simultaneously stimulating a conscious response.
Immersed in this transformative experience, the viewer is compelled to confront the disconcerting question of who perpetuates a state of unawareness regarding the absence of the referent. Through the convergence of technology and human perception, this installation stands as an eloquent conduit, encouraging an active engagement with the concealed narratives and labor that underpin our quotidian encounters. It implores us to reflect upon and empathize with the invisible contributors who shape our existence, ultimately fostering a more empathetic and equitable societal fabric.
Thus, as the shadows gracefully dance across the screen, an intricate interplay between academic rigor and direct impact unfurls. This artistic endeavor transcends mere aesthetics, inviting viewers to explore the depths of their own complicity in the pervasive phenomenon of labor invisibility. It beckons us to transcend the confines of our own consciousness, embracing a collective responsibility to illuminate and honor the hidden stories that remain entwined within our everyday experiences. Through this synthesis of scholarly inquiry and evocative design, the installation endeavors to ignite a transformative journey toward a more cognizant and socially conscious future.
Diagrams for the installation projection/ kind surveillance technique using Deeplabv3.

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