New York-based artist Zach Gage created The Hit Counter as a way of questioning the modern ways in which we identify and assign popularity and worth. The simple birch box houses a camera and a hit counter. Much like a website counter, the artwork tracks how many people "visit" -- using facial rec.
Gage explains his motivation for the piece:
In the early days of the Internet, popularity was generally attributed to websites. Site usage was illustrated via “hit counters” at the bottom of each page. With the rise of social media and the self-made user, popularity is now attributed to individuals. Popularity is commonly conveyed with follower counters, friend counters or view counters. Despite the problems that popularity has led to in the physical world, we have opted to translate this metric into the digital/virtual space.
If literal popularity is such an important metric of value, can it not be used to evaluate an artwork?
Hit Counter re-translates this metric back into the physical space. With no other means to judge it, Hit Counter demands to be assigned a worth based solely on its popularity. Hit Counter software makes extensive use of OpenFrameworks, openCV for facial recognition. The hardware is built upon Firmata/Arduino, both open-source as well.