Exploring the Vague Horror of Face Swap

PBS Idea Channel recently explored the vague horror of face swap and why humans can find things like digital glitches unsettling. Host Mike Rugnetta compares the phenomenon to the work of director David Cronenberg and the genre of body horror.

Face Swapping isn’t new, but it sure is popular these days with things like the Face Swap Challenge, and apps like, FaceSwap Live, MSQRD, and of course, Snapchat. But we can’t help but notice that there’s something…. weird about the face swap. Something… horrific. Perhaps it’s even an example of the Body Horror genre, especially when face swaps go wrong. Glitchy face swaps have a certain gruesomeness about them but they also reveal something interesting about the relationship between humans and computers. When a computer doesn’t know the difference between your face or a hubcap, what does that say about the way computers see us?