Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Keep using FaceApp to make yourself smile like a distorted Lynchian nightmare

Photo: 518 Media

FaceApp is the hot new app for showing people a smudged, uncanny version of what you’d look like as a baby, an old, or a sparkling thing. The technology works by uploading images of your face to a neural net, then drawing upon oodles of visual data to tailor your image to match these alternate realities.

A question lurks beneath this all, however: What happens when you FaceApp a face that’s already been FaceApped? How many times can a FaceApped face be FaceApped? Will the face become more refined, revealing deeper, more vivid details? Or will it devolve into something H.P. Lovecraft might have made with access to Microsoft Paint? If you guessed the latter:


That’s “Machine Learning artist” Gene Kogan, who, according to Prosthetic Knowledge, used the smile filter “until a face [was] no longer detected.” As you can see, the intended enhancements eventually turn on Kogan, tightening his face into something Joker-esque while simultaneously muddying his skin, thinning his eyes, and sprouting curious colored strands that evoke Cthulhu’s rave attire.

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