Considering precision dairy farming, Szalai’s work reflects on surveillance, exploitation and our relationship to nature.
Utilizing computer vision, AI and robotics, today’s automated farm functions as a digital panopticon in which animals are subject to continuous monitoring. Quantifying all aspects of the cows’ life, technology allows treating each individual as a mere dataset. This can be seen as surveillance capitalism applied to animals, and a means of consolidating our distance from animals by virtualization.
Addressing these issues, Szalai renders cows and their environment using photogrammetry. This 3D-scanning technique gives the work a character of 21st-century bucolic imagery, in which the datafied existence of animals belongs to an increasingly technological landscape perceived through digital means.
Szalai’s exhibition is supported by the Blue Planet Foundation Hungary.