A POP-UP bar based on image recognition algorithms and ‘hipster’ culture is coming to the Lowry, Salford Quays.

The software will use an image taken from social platform Instagram to identify visual characteristics of hipsters.

Those who are recognised as being ‘over 90% hipster’ will gain access to this niche bar, whilst all others will be turned away.

hipster bar
Photo Source: Zane Cerpina

Visual artist Max Dovey came up with the concept in 2015, which he views as more of an art project than a business venture.

He explains it as a way of visually defining the term ‘hipster’, which is often used in popular culture but not always strictly defined.

“I always thought it was a term for someone who is having more fun than you.” Explains Dovey.

“No-one actually identifies as a hipster, even though I know a lot and been called one myself.

“Turns out doing this experiment, there are some very visual characteristics to determine if someone has hipster attributes and qualities.”

He goes on to explain how the technology itself actually works.

“Every time I do the bar, I save all the pictures and add them to the database so the software gets more and more accurate the more I present the piece.” He says.

“It really recognises visual characteristics such as glasses, sun glasses, beards, chequered shirts, piercings, tattoos, coffee cups or beer bottles.”

photo source: Zane Cerpina
photo source: Zane Cerpina

This is the first time Dovey has brought his unique bar idea to life in the UK, but in presenting the project around Europe, Max was shocked to find that some ‘real’ bars already use facial recognition.

“Apparently, there are some bars in Russia that use image recognition on the entrance and they use it to identify what you’re wearing – if you’re wearing certain brands, you are allowed in.”

As well as the Hipster bar, Dovey’s work replicates familiar environments such as banks and post offices.

“I like to use technology in a subversive way in a situated environment.” He says.

The Hipster bar will arrive The Lowry Gallery in Salford Quays as part of a free exhibition, humansbeingdigital.

The Hipster bar is set to open its doors on Saturday November 18th, remaining open until Monday 25th February 2018.

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