A new app called SLMMSK turns the now ubiquitous selfie on its ear. On its savagely pierced ear (and nose and tongue) that is, because SLMMSK is definitely the hard core punk rock of selfies. Essentially the app takes your image and applies filters that create an effect that can really only be described as anti-social. But then again, don’t we hide behind our regular faces too? Or else why would photographers for centuries have to encourage people to smile? Maybe a pixelated you is just as genuine a representation, SLMMSK seems to suggest. The app toys with the ideas of identity and privacy, two notions forever in flux in our world.
SLMMSK uses simple facial recognition software and layers its effects on people’s distorted mugs. It can place a smiley or alien face on top of your real face, producing an eerie Clockwork Orange effect that erases your individuality while at the same time leaving intact the evidence of your body, your being, and what looks like–despite the faux smile–your menace. The app can blackout your eyes or pixelate you into a grid of skin-toned squares–or make you look as you’d appear on CCTV. It’s strange but seductive, like disappearing always is. The text, btw, is cyrillic, so feel your way around.