Francisco Rodriguez

Why are they equipped with eyes? - Film - 26min - 2018

présenté dans le cadre de l'exposition Panorama 20


An image is generated by a surveillance system in a conflict zone. A satellite 36,000 kilometres from the earth can capture a person’s face. The photograph is sent in real time, and in encrypted format, to an NSA data centre, which receives 604800 terabytes of information a day. This image taken by satellite crosses paths with e-mails, Internet traffic, phone calls, biometric profiles, geolocation. To relate these different elements, a semi-supervised machine learning system is used.

//TAR: User is friend of X XXXXXXXXX is supplying to Garúa.

A Cascade algorithm processes information. It puts to one side the data not dealing with sensitive subjects and launches alerts whenever words like Taliban, Leader or Bomb appear in the messages of a targeted individual. Cross-referencing of this information leads to the creation of a target who is then monitored in fifteen-minute periods. It is considered that the person in the photo taken by the satellite has sent far too many messages containing these keywords and should not have been in the place where they were when the photo was taken. They become suspect even though no specialist has ever checked that the satellite facial recognition system has really taken the photograph of a human being and not a face form that appeared on the earth, in the form of a cloud or a reflection on a lake.

Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodríguez was born in 1989 in Chile. A filmmaker and artist. He has directed the films El Gran Padre, Samanta, Appels téléphoniques, Pabellón de Interfectos and Una Luna de Hierro, among others. His practice is grounded in cinema, but also in photography and other expansive forms of projection. His work explores the multiplicity of visions, the opacity of violence, the traces of the dead in the world of the living, oral language and human struggle in violent territories. Recently his work has been presented at Film Society of Lincoln Center, CPH:DOX, Shangai FF, Zinebi, Clermont-Ferrand, DOCS DF, among others. He is currently living and working between Santiago (Chile) and Roubaix (France).


Josefina Buschmann, who made this film possible.
Daniela Jacob, Charlotte Bayer-Broc, Vanja Munjin, Curtis Putralk, Pablo Albandea, Justin Okolodkoff, Daniel Dobbels, Nadir Khanfour, Alice Lemaire, Bruxelles Panthères, Éric Prigent, Olivier Cheval, Blanca Camel, Clément Vieille, Camila Rodríguez, Charlène Dinhut, François Bonenfant, Eva Feuken, Juan Pablo Villegas.

The technical and teaching teams at Le Fresnoy and my comrades in the Chantal Akerman and Michelangelo Antonioni years.


Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing