Onformative/Google Maps

Hey, is that soybean field looking at me?

Sometimes if you gaze into a verdant pasture, the verdant pasture gazes also into you. Angrily.

At least that's what it looks like in the above aerial shot of the "Jewish Autonomous Oblast" in far-east Russia. The cranky face peering out of the grass was spotted by the folks at Berlin's Onformative design studio. And they've found many more faces, too – because they've actually built a computer program that sifts through Google Maps with facial-recognition technology to find anthropomorphic features.

Why would they do this? The designers of "Google Faces" wax poetic about that:

The way we perceive our environment is a complex procedure. By the help of our vision we are able to recognize friends within a huge crowd, approximate the speed of an oncoming car or simply admire a painting. One of human’s most characteristic features is our desire to detect patterns. We use this ability to penetrate into the detailed secrets of nature. However we also tend to use this ability to enrich our imagination. Hence we recognize meaningful shapes in clouds or detect a great bear upon astrological observations.

Objective investigations and subjective imagination collide to one inseparable process. The tendency to detect meaning in vague visual stimuli is a psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia, and captures the core interest of this project.

Meaning, I think, that they simply found the task hilarious. Here are a few more mammoth land-mugs that their AI has located. From Denali National Park in Alaska comes this sunglasses-wearing bloke:

These cubist faces in the wilds of eastern Russia could've been painted by Picasso:

Wipe that stupid grin off your piehole, Sacha:

Onformative's made a video showing their program doing its things, although honestly I can't spot the faces in most of the landmarks it highlights:

(H/t to Creative Applications Network)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  2. An illustration of a front porch.
    Life

    America Rediscovers Its Love of the Front Porch

    In the 20th century, porches couldn’t compete with TV and air conditioning. Now this classic feature of American homes is staging a comeback as something more stylish and image-conscious than ever before.

  3. A scene from Hey Arnold! is pictured.
    Life

    Even Hey Arnold's Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Now

    Series creator Craig Bartlett explains how he built the cartoon city that every ’90’s kid dreamed of living in.

  4. Life

    Is Minimalism for Black People?

    Black communities have long practiced core tenets of the lifestyle—yet are not well-represented amongst its most recognizable influencers.

  5. A row of tractor trailers lined up at a truck stop.
    Transportation

    The Truckers Who Are Taking on Human Trafficking

    In Arkansas, the “knights of the road” are being trained to combat truck-stop prostitution.