Last year at the Armory Show, here in NYC, I saw this work but didn’t make note of the artist’s name. Thanks to the amazing Google images, I was able to upload my photo and end up on Hsin-Chien Huang’s website. Read My Lips (as the piece is titled) is an interactive sculpture of Andy Warhol’s face with mechanical eyelids and lips. Taiwan-based artist Huang (who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Taiwan University, in addition to a B.S. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and an M.S. from the Illinois Institute of Technology, so he really combines science, technology and art) created this work as an experiment, inspired by the Facebook pages of dead artists and their Facebook “friends”. The computer that controls the eyelid and lip movements is connected to the internet. The work posts questions of artistic relevance and social significance to its Facebook page every week and friends can post responses. Using a text-to-speech engine, the artwork then reads back the responses silently.
An interactive public art project from 2010 is shown in the bottom group of photos. Listening is located in a Lo-Sheng sanatorium which used to be a leprosy house in 1929. Between the two large ears made of laser cut steel, is a platform in the space representing the brain. Pedestrians can walk onto the platform and reflect on the sounds they used to hear in the location, as well as the current sounds. There are also 15 QR-code labels on the ground which viewers can use to watch videos with their smartphones.
You can see Read My Lips in action in the video below.