Order of Passion

Funded by: Martha Pieper Research Fund, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Fund
PI: Aleksandra Dulic; Co-I: Homayoun Najjaran,
Researchers: David Kadish
Collaborators: Kenneth Newby, UFV, Alex Stall, Pixar Animation, Patty Clemens
Center for Culture and Technology, December 4 through December 20

The human face and voice are core aspects of our communication; they are the instruments through which we present our selves to ourselves and to the world. Facial features divulge our ancestry. Their movements betray our emotions and cultural frameworks. Despite our cultural and ethnic differences, all people are bound by the ability to read basic emotions written on the face. The Order of Passions project brings a conception of unity to the participants through a focus on basic facial expressions, while diversity is represented through multi-ethnic signatures of facial appearances and vocal expressions of linguistic richness in diverse cultures.

The image of Canadian identity is expressed visually as a single mosaic composed from many individuals and their facial expressions grouped together in an expressive unity. Aurally, the work expresses Canadian multi-cultural and environmental dialogues through linguistic complexities characteristic of our experience. Different people, their faces and voices, are projected across dozens of screens and audio channels that together create a dynamic cinematic image.

Building on a work by Alex Stahl, Pixar Animation and Patricia Clemens, Artist/Designer, from California during their stay at the Centre for Culture and Technology we developed an audio mobile speaker system that uses aquarell paper to act both as sculpture and as speaker channels.



A database of people and their facial and vocal expressions was recorded, using an ethnographic film method. Jeanette Angel conducted interviews and Emilia Schmidt was operating camera.

The Facial Expression Recognition (FER) system was developed to categorise ethnographic film sources, which form the database of images used to create the hybrid mosaic face. The FER system is developed by Homayoun Najjaran, Mechanical Engineering Dept, and M.A.Sc student, David Kadish, with additional programming by Phill Pablo.

The prototype builds on the media diffusion system, developed by Dulic and Newby, which enable dynamic composition across multiple audio and video channels. The composition across multiple audio/visual channels was further developed to integrate the FER system and the speaker-screen system, under development by Alex Stahl, Pixar Animation and Patricia Clemens, Artist/Designer, from California.

The integration of the speaker screen into the media diffusion system enables the screens used for the projection of an image to act as a loudspeaker. In doing so, each screen will have its own independent audio to create a rich, spatialized audio-visual experience.