FaceOrFactory is a family, a corporation and a laboratory of faces, masks and new identities.

By creating a personal bio-digital collection of DNA samples and 3D facial scans of individual donors, FaceOrFactory aims to modulate a new facial structure as a potent data field, researching contemporary biometric surveillance, economy, genetics and scientific ideologies. During the process, a face is gradually developed as a complex territory of genetic, juridical, cosmetic, political and military power relations.

By means of an algorithm, specific selection of genetic sequences and phenotypes start forming biological and informational body-archive of the corporation, used and experimented in different research chapters. Based on informational input of new DNA donors, the artistic material is forever changing, thus constantly restructuring the process and conceptual direction of FaceOrFactory. This collection, in turn, slowly forms the model of 'faciality' as we understand it – as a territory, a battleground, a system, a machine.

FaceOrFactory is established as a long-lasting artistic research in the field of genetics, law, gaming, visual art, philosophy and critical theory. It is organised in the form of a corporative and artistic system with its own rules, rhetoric and visual language. Each year, a new chapter of the creative process explores different theoretical aspects of the face as a dense landscape of fabrication of the contemporary society, thus slowly builds the whole of autonomous ecosystem FaceOrFactory. These chapters of the project are usually presented in the form of exhibitions, texts and workshops, but are open in terms of exploring different forms, places and ways of establishing their dispersed platform.

what is a face?

A face is a surface, stretching over the human body, yet it is decisively seperated from it. It forms a specific topology with its own rules, imagery, language and politics - its own system. The face functions as a constant plurality, always shifting and changing its mask, based on its location and surroundings.

If internet, digital networks and technology imposed on our society an emancipatory possibility of accessible and dispersed distribution of knowledge, communication and socialization, they also tightened the prevalent structures of surveillance, social order and normativity. The positive ability of constant transformation can also be read as a forced adaptation to different economic, political, juridicial and aesthetical bodies of power. The human face is thus a central point between all the different registers of contemporary life - the digital biometric archives, its history of racism and antisemitism, political surveillance and the categorization of criminal identities; the economic space of trading sensitive information and genetic material; cosmetics, plastic surgery and the constantly developing technology of transforming your facial sculpture; AI, robotics and machine learning which are using the human imagery for developing its technocratic surplus.

We are used of criticising anthropocentrism and ideological models of western society through organizing encounters with the non-human Other. It is time to form an ecounter with the non-human, residing in the human itself; the Otherness, a blind spot, living and breathing in the center of human life. A face.

biometric archive

usually a state archive, containing biological data such as fingerprints, facial photographs, pupil scans, etc., of each citizen. Numerous security breaches pertaining to these archives and sales of biological data on the black market have been reported. An archive is both a place for saving and categorizing crucial data in a particular order as well as an active mechanism for economic investment and exercising political control.


unmanned aerial vehicle, usually used in military operations and missile attacks. The same principle is used in the skincare industry with cosmetic drones which enable a targeted delivery system of the product’s active ingredients (peptides, vitamins, etc.) into a specific receptor cell of the user’s skin. A face is thus a territory for beautifying products and cosmetics, intertwined with military rhetoric and protocol.

the mechanism of human facial expression

a scientific monograph, written by Duchenne de Boulogne (1806-1875), highly influential on Darwin's work on human evolution and emotional expression.

Duchenne believed that the human face was a kind of map, the features of which could be codified into universal taxonomies of mental states; he was convinced that the expressions of the human face were a gateway to the soul of man. Unlike Lavater and other physiognomists of the era, Duchenne was skeptical of the face's ability to express moral character; rather he was convinced that it was through a reading of the expressions alone (known as pathognomy) which could reveal an "accurate rendering of the soul's emotions". He believed that he could observe and capture an "idealized naturalism" in a similar (and even improved) way to that observed in Greek art.


a literary concept that refers to one or more imaginary character(s) created by a writer to write in different styles. Heteronyms differ from pen names (or pseudonyms, from the Greek words for "false" and "name") in that the latter are merely false names, while the former are characters that have their own supposed physiques, biographies, and writing styles. Heteronyms were named and developed by the Portuguese writer and poet Fernando Pessoa in the early 20th century, but were explored in greater detail by the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard. FaceOrFactory explores the boundaries and possibilities of heteronyms in the age of information and digital identities.


specific anthropological technique practiced by Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914). This system consisted of five initial measurements — head length, head breadth, length of middle finger, length of the left foot, and length of the cubit. Along with these measurements, Bertillon used photography, now known as a mugshot, to complete this system of record. These methods of identification were combined into a system for law enforcement officials to access information and images quickly.

Although the system was based in scientific measures, it was known to have its flaws. For example, it may not have been able to accurately apply to children or women, as it was mostly designed for men who had reached full physical maturity and had short hair.


a rhetorical device in which a speaker or writer communicates to the audience by speaking as another person or object. The term literally derives from the Greek roots prósopon "face, person", and poiéin "to make, to do". To lend a voice therefore also means to lend a face, a mask.

lab work

Our laboratory analysis of gathered genetic material, harvested with buccal swabs in Holey Surface, is based on a research paper Genome-wide mapping of global-to-local genetic effects on human facial shape by Peter Claes, Jasmien Roosenboom et al., which explores a data-driven approach to facial phenotyping and explores the possibilities of identification of genetic effects in facial morphology. It is based on genetic mapping of human facial shape and creating a facial segmentation, using a spectral clustering of relevant facial loci, associated with a specific pattern of the genome.


the artists

Aljaž Rudolf is a single-cycle master student of architecture at the Faculty of Architecture Ljubljana. In his master thesis, he is focusing on the problem of architectural discipline, often embodied as a vehicle of essentialist categories of form, type, and identity. He is especially focusing on the authorship mythology as an explicitly reactionist gesture that is producing a model of architect-genius, preserving the structure and perception of architectural production from modernism and postmodernism to the present times. He is approaching this problem by introducing four major topics on contemporary architecture, back-powered by current theoretical writing, thus affecting and questioning the legitimacy of certain theoretical and design practices of architecture.

Beyond his academic occupation, Aljaž has collaborated on realisation of other artists work covering the design and technical aspects of artistic production, mostly related to his architectural and graphic design education. He was an employee at the City Art Gallery Ljubljana for 4 years. He also participated in the GYCF in South Korea.

Eva Smrekar is finishing a postgraduate programme of philosophy and art history at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana after spending two semesters at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. She is currently researching relations between the development of modern science, history of sexuality and historical development of alternative performative practices in the case of Salpêtrière Hospital at the end of the 19th century in Paris.

She is an author of several research papers, published in Maska, Problemi and Likovne besede/Artwords and has been a part of different symposiums and independent festivals, lastly as a lecturer at the symposium Un nouveau Reg-Arts sur l'École des Beaux-Arts de Paris, organised by the Beaux-Arts de Paris, the École du Louvre, the National Institue of Art History (INHA) and the CNRS. She is a research resident of Institut Giacometti in Paris.

She is a recipient of the Estonian Artists’ Association Award and the Dean’s Award of Faculty of Arts Ljubljana.

Rudolf and Smrekar have been collaborating together in different scenarios since 2017. They have co-curated a group exhibition Community Kit in Museum of Architecture and Design (together with Lara Reichmann and Jan Krek) as well as edited its publication with texts by various Slovenian artists and theoreticians. In 2018, they have participated in The Architectural Association Visiting School: Animalesque in Berlin, where they were developing a project concerning hybrid bodies and co-habitation between human and insects, which they presented in Arhitekturforum Berlin. The following year, they started collaborating in the development of a long-term research project FaceOrFactory, with which they have been a part of IMPAKT Full Spectrum Curatorship Programme in 2022 and a six months artist residency at SAM Museum in Singapore (October 2022 - April 2023).


Sweet Protocols, group exhibition (SI, June 2023)

MFRU Festival (SI, October 2023)

The Face of Corporate Building, artist talk, City Art Gallery Ljuljana (SI, December 2023)


Singapore Art Week, artist talk and presentation of the residency research, (SG, 2023)

The Face of Corporate Building, Aksioma (SI, 2022)

36th Youth Salon: Parasites, group exhibition, Meštrović Pavilion (HR, 2022)

You, an Archive, solo exhibition, Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (SI, 2022)

STARTS, group exhibition, BOZAR (BE, 2021)

Unstable Protocols, solo exhibition, Kapelica Gallery (SI, 2021)

Holey Surface Satellite, solo exhibition, Simulaker Gallery (SI, 2021)

Holey Surface, solo exhibition, Ars Electronica Festival, Kapelica Gallery (SI, 2020)