© 2019 by Manisha Mohan

Cultural Lens

2017

Collaborators: Daniel Fizgerald & Nikolaos Vlavianos

Cultural Lens is a speculative design project that reverses traditional gender responsibilities around clothing and personal appearance, interrogating the status of prevalent historical arguments around modesty and etiquette. Every society, culture, and religion has implicit or explicit expectations for women's clothing and public appearance, which has recently led to debates around issues for human rights, freedom, and self-expression.

Cultural Lens asks society-at-large to share the burden of enforcing public appearance for women. Instead of forcing women to wear clothing styles that are deemed acceptable by the public, Cultural Lens allows members of the public that might be offended–by, for example, perceived immodesty or improper etiquette–to have the freedom to selectively filter the appearance of the women they see in public to conform literally to their view of how women should look. 

The system uses a Microsoft HoloLens to implement an Augmented Reality visual field for the user. The system can identify people and faces in the view, classify gender, and apply visual filters to their appearance according to the user's preference. For example, Cultural Lens can add digital veil to the faces of all women the user observes.