Google Faces by Onformative Studio
“Pareidolia" is a Greek*-based term that describes the human psychological tendency to find recognizable images or sounds in otherwise random places. Whether searching for shapes in the clouds or trying to find the Man in the Moon, we fixate on those hidden human moments and infuse certain landscapes and objects with new symbolic life. Instances of pareidolia can be incredibly powerful, especially when the images we see take on religious significance. More often than not, the images we see (or perhaps more accurately, those we look for) take on human form – a body, a face – and satisfy both our delusions and our imaginations.
Design studio Onformative has launched its Google Faces project to explore this strange phenomenon by engaging our collective fascination with personifying geographical formations. Described as “an independent searching agent hovering the world,” the project taps into Google Earth satellite images to find faces in the planet’s wide and varied geography. Google Faces has developed a face-recognition algorithm used to detect face-like shapes on the Earth’s surface, and the program continues to scour the globe finding the most human-like formations; here, “objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process.”
To view more images collected from Onformative’s Google Faces, see the web page here. And, you can check out more popular instances of pareidolia like the Three Sisters cliff formation in Australia, the Face on Mars, and the famous Grilled Cheese Jesus that sold on Ebay.
- Erin Saunders
*the word comes from the Greek and not Latin, as previously stated.