Poesía Facial is an interactive installation that includes three computers equipped with facial recognition software that Merhi coded. This enables each computer to recognize three distinct facial features: eyebrow movements, mouth gestures, and face's overall appearance on screen. Once the computer's built-in camera identifies these features, the system activates and displays phrases from the artist's poems and sound frequencies.
Language is utilized both mecanically and expressively; for Merhi, finding the right words to compose a poem is as arduous as writing the software code. Viewers interacting with these computers perform according to the conditions the machine commands -smile, frown, blow out kisses, make funny faces or stand still- creating an intriguing dialogue between humans, art, and technology. The verses generated by the computer appear in a continous flux, responding to the viewer's unplanned (yet controlled) movements. Thus Merhi's poetry is executed and performed by chance and control -and collaboratively.
Only when the computers sense bodily signals a poem is revealed and a melody is triggered, making viewers/participants an integral part of this work. People of all ages are invited to perform and explore their own facial gestures. The resulting text is projected on the walls, enabling other viewers to read the ever-changing poems, while listening to the endless eletronic tunes.
(Text by Shlomit Dror)