Experience A Face to Open Doors


“Welcome to your face. Of course, you're used to it but in different lights we can look different and here you need to adjust to seeing yourself as others see you. You are sitting in a true face booth dedicated to solving the problem of global movement.”

“Certainly wasn't aware of the kind of technology that was being developed and going to be rolled out. Refugees are kind of expected to just be grateful about wherever they go and there's something very broken about that.”

“Refugee journeys have been chaotic but now, using a global perspective on what options are available we find the best destination for you.”

“It really scares me because I think who is making this AI and who is it modelled on. Why don't I know if it could potentially affect me? That, that just gives me a bit of a tingle”

“It's the micro gestures in your own face that do all the form filling for you and the algorithm does the rest.”

“I'm not sure how much to give away about the piece. Some of the things that it predicted about me I was shocked by or surprised by.”

What will immigration control look like in the future? 

A Face to Open Doors is an immersive experience created by award-winning artists Anagram. It invites visitors to consider the systems used to process people fleeing conflict by taking them into an imaginary future world where international movement is policed by intelligent machines. 

Find out more about how Anagram created the experience and see how people have reacted to the installation.

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, new artistic commissions and immersive events that took place across IWM London and IWM North.

Developing the experience

A Face to Open Doors, Commissioned by IWM, Created by Anagram

IWM invited Anagram to explore an aspect of refugee experiences that isn’t widely known or reported. Their investigations led them to current research and developments using AI and machine learning within immigration systems. A Face to Open Doors is an experience that invites personal reflection on what might happen if your face is your passport. By creating a fictional world it raises questions about ethics, efficiency and bias as technology is applied to new uses

Susie Thornberry, Assistant Director of Public Engagement & Learning

Fictional story world

A Face to Open Doors. Commissioned by IWM. Created by Anagram

A Face to Open Doors is set in a fictional world shaped by climate, economic and political chaos.

Certain groups in the UK no longer have security and the ability to live their lives without fear. Were they to escape and seek refuge elsewhere this would place them in the category of refugee

Discover more about the project on Anagram's website:


"We are trying to find a different way of thinking about the asylum system. In the piece, you have to perform your emotions while faced with your own reflection. Although playful at first, it can be uncomfortable to be judged by a machine. We design work that invites participation, so that people can reflect on what it brings up for them. Those feelings can then be the beginning of a new conversation.”



Explore the rest of the Refugees season at IWM London and IWM North. 

A family cooking on a makeshift cooker in a refugee camp.
© CNN. A photo taken from Life in a Camp at IWM London, a partnership project with CNN.
Activities and Experiences, Exhibitions and Installations

Life in a Camp

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021

A family and their overloaded car at a refugee centre on the Iraq-Kuwait border, during the First Gulf War, 1991.
A family and their overloaded car at a refugee centre on the Iraq-Kuwait border, during the First Gulf War, 1991. © John Keane (IWM GLF 174)
Exhibitions and Installations

Refugees: Forced to Flee

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021

© IWM, Ai Weiwei, History of Bombs 2020
© IWM, Ai Weiwei, History of Bombs 2020
Exhibitions and Installations

Ai Weiwei History of Bombs

IWM London
Until 5 September 2021

A Médecins Sans Frontières Land Cruiser in Aid Workers Exhibition
Exhibitions and Installations

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire

IWM North
Until 26 September 2021

©Rob Pinney


IWM London & IWM North

1 August 2020 to 26 September 2021

A Face to Open Doors Hero Image
Activities and Experiences

A Face to Open Doors IWM London

IWM London
Until 13 June 2021