Is Scanface (AKA smushing your face into a computer scanner) the new selfie?
In 2012, like so many other struggling college graduates, I was working an office job that I didn’t like. Among duties like filing and making calls to Office Depot, part of my job was to sit and guard the Xerox machine. If anyone wanted to use the massive, thumping dinosaur of a machine, they were to leave their papers with me and I made their copies. This meant that the Xerox machine and I were alone for hours.
Have you ever been alone with a Xerox machine for hours? Things can get weird. There’s a constant temptation to use it for a selfie, but the fear of being blinded by the bright, violet light zipping back and forth behind the glass panel prevented me from ever trying it.
In 2012, on the other side of the world in London, Spanish artist Xavier Solé Mora not only embraced the temptation to smush his body parts to a scanner’s glass panel, he transformed scans of his face into works of art. He told Daily Mail that one rainy Sunday afternoon, he just couldn’t resist the urge to snap a scanner selfie, but soon became interested in figuring out how to control how the photo turned out. Over the past three years, he’s experimented with using a scanner to distort the images of human faces, collecting over 40 different mug shots. He calls the project “Scanface.” Xavier shared how one scanned self-portrait turned into years of creativity on his blog:
Here are some of his Scanface portraits.
Xavier uses a small, scanner-printer hybrid, Epson Stylus Color 400 to create the images of Scanface. It appears that volunteers roll their faces along the glass while the scanner is operating, which results in some pretty jarring portraits.
The Scanface series is captivating and haunting, in equal parts.
“The images are almost like a nightmare that makes you laugh,” Xavier explained to Daily Mail. It’s a lot easier to laugh when you think about what those folks must look like pressing their faces onto a scanner, which is still an office job fantasy of mine. Actually – dreams come true – Xavier asked that if anyone tries their own Scanface, they should send him the results. You can Tweet him your own distorted portraits here. I might sneak back into my old place of work and finally smush my face all over that ol’ Xerox machine. You know, for the sake of art.
(Images via Twitter.)