Facial Hacking in Technarte

At Technarte’s last edition, the Dutch artist and facial hacker Arthur Elsennaar was awarded with the Best Speaker Award because of his artistic technological performance “Perfect Paul: On freedom on facial expression”. Arthur Elsennaar researches the choreographical capabilities of the computer-controlled human face, which challenges the traditional notion of facial expression as a conveyor of emotion and aims to develop a choreographical facial language

His project investigates the computer-controlled human face as a medium for kinetic art and develops algorithms for facial choreography. Small precisely controlled electrical impulses are employed to trigger the facial muscles of a live human person into rendering involuntary expressions. As the human face is controlled by a digital computer instead of a neural brain, it can be made to perform in unexpected ways, bringing together dance and technology in the most direct way imaginable. Are we able of communicating something verbally while our face transmits the opposite? With facial hacking it is possible.

Perfect Paul allows more stable control of facial gestures, breaks the limits of human control and discover an unknown potential in human expression through hardware and software. As the human face has gotten willingly programmed, could we say metaphorically that freedom of facial expression has been reached or, in the other hand, this control transgresses the limits of human freedom?

Technarte brings together every year in Bilbao a score of artists and technologist like Arthur Elsenaar, who present during the conference innovative artistic-technology projects, related to disciplines like virtual reality, art and robotics, interactive architecture, and any other artistic disciplines emerged of the union of art and technology.