Tate: Blending art, therapy, and face analysis technology
  • Client:


  • Technology:

    Face analysis

  • Use case:

    Impact of eye movement and facial expressions in psychological health

In an era where technology and art intersect more profoundly than ever, Visage Technologies and Tate, a leading global arts institution, embarked on an experimental journey.

This collaboration aimed to explore the impacts of emerging technologies, specifically face analysis, on psychological health.

So, the case study delves into the challenges faced, the solutions implemented, and the groundbreaking outcomes of this partnership.

Tate and the art of emotional exploration: A project overview

Tate, renowned for supporting artistic risk-taking and deep scholarship, partnered with Visage Technologies for an experimental research project titled “Ocular Choreography.”

The project was spearheaded by artist Liz Magic Laser, EMDR therapist Dr. Ameet Aggarwal, and face-tracking expert Dan Hill, Ph.D., with the support of computer programmer and artist Samuele Albani.

It aimed to explore how technologies analyzing eye movement and facial expressions could influence psychological health. The project featured two public online events that integrated Visage Technologies’ face analysis software, providing live feed analysis of audience facial expressions and data visualizations based on eye movements and emotions.

This initiative was part of the Terra Foundation for American Art Series: New Perspectives and produced in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London’s Department of Computing.

Facing the challenge: The quest for compliance and seamless connectivity

Before adopting Visage Technologies’ face analysis software, Tate and its collaborators sought a reliable face technology solution that could integrate seamlessly with Zoom for public participation.

The project’s ambition was to enable the audience to track their emotional responses to various stimuli, within the context of GDPR regulations and without storing any biometric data.

The primary challenge was finding a technological solution that was both compliant with privacy laws and capable of delivering accurate emotion tracking in real time.

A breakthrough in emotional engagement with face analysis

Visage Technologies’ face analysis technology stood out for its robust market research application, adaptable visual interface, and emphasis on eye movements.

Our software offered a unique solution by allowing audiences and presenters to track emotions in response to different stimuli, record responses to relaxing and stressful situations, and visualize multiple audience reactions creatively.

Moreover, through close collaboration, Visage Technologies and Tate’s legal team ensured full GDPR compliance by focusing on consent and anonymized emotional tracking, enabling a safe and engaging experience for participants.

“What made FaceAnalysis stand out is that it was tried and tested in the market research sphere. It presented an opportunity to adapt and modify it to work for our purposes with a developer. In addition, we liked the visual interface and were happy with the emphasis on the eyes.”

– Annie Bicknell, Curator Public Programmes, Tate

The result: A transformative process of ‘Ocular Choreography’

The ‘Ocular Choreography’ project, a collaboration between Tate and various experts, explored the intricate relationship between art, technology, and psychological health.

This experimental journey focused not on definitive outcomes but on the process of discovering how eye movements and facial expressions can influence mental well-being.

Central to this exploration was the use of software that allowed audience members and presenters to track their emotional responses to various stimuli, including relaxing and moderately stressful situations or memories. This innovative approach facilitated a unique interaction between participants and technology, enabling them to play creatively with the software and influence the interpretation of their emotions.

➥ The project culminated in an online resource with guided exercises and findings from the experimental research, which you can find here: Ocular Choreography: Exercises and Research.

In summary, ‘Ocular Choreography’ demonstrated how art and technology could come together to offer new insights into emotional well-being. By allowing participants to actively engage with and influence the technology, the project revealed innovative ways of understanding and interacting with our emotions.

This pioneering work has not only enhanced the artistic experience but also opened up new possibilities for using technology to support mental health.

“We would recommend Visage Technologies as they provide a clean, clear visual interface that allows users to play and experiment. Its simplicity and clear visuals worked well for what we wanted to demonstrate.”

Annie Bicknell, Curator Public Programmes, Tate

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