Live Poet

A 6-month live performance/web-tablet-phone app, based on real-time poetic streamings that will be transmitted all day long within NYC.
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Project Location

New York New York United States of America
Artists Involved

Project Description

Live Poet is a 6-month live performance based on real-time poetic streamings that will be transmitted via SMS and tweets to a web server. The metaphoric data will evidence my daily human interactions, ephemeral but thoughtful sensations, philosophical reflections, artistic insights, and contemplative states of being that will exist on-line for brief periods of time. Visually speaking, the project will resemble a green nebula (a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette). Data will be archived until the conclusion of the project. During the performance, a Markov-chain algorithm will be activated to automatically access the archived data and create new pieces of writing. The new data structures will be published in a new page.

On the coding side, the back end of the project will be developed in Python and JS. The front end will be pure CSS. In addition, the archive will be outputted as Json, enabling later access for consultation and other creative/algorithmic aspects. Back end will be hosted by Heroku. Front end will be hosted by Rhizome.

The performance will be multilingual, encompassing text in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Greek and Chinese. Some code may appear as well. Live Poet will take place 24/7 throughout New York City, demonstrating that technology can be a great ally to amplify the extraordinary value of lyric content.
Project Timeline and Budget


1-month preproduction and design.

3-month programming and development.

1-month testing.

6-month live performance.


60 hours of programming and testing @ $55 each (reduced fee) = $3300

Domain registration = $15

6-month renting of dedicated IP = $30

6-month renting of Heroku server and MongoDb service ($171 month - = $1026

Total: $4371
About the Artist(s) Involved

Yucef Merhi is a Venezuelan-born artist, poet and coder, based in New York. His career encompasses an extensive exhibition record in places such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art; Bronx Museum of the Arts; El Museo del Barrio; Eyebeam Art and Technology Center; Orange County Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; among many others. He also participated in the official selections of the 2007 Bienal de São Paulo - Valencia, and the 10th Istanbul Biennial.

Merhi was recipient of the 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in Digital/Electronic Arts. He has lectured at New York University; Pace University; California Arts Institute; Universidad Central de Venezuela; Universidad de Los Andes; Sandberg Institut, and numerous museums in the US, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Spain and Holland.

Artist(s) Work Samples
Too Good to Be News is a realtime poetry generator that grabs, parses, and creates random poems , from current headlines published by The New York Times, National Public Radio, and verses by US Poet Laureate, Charles Simic. Code was written in Python and Flask. Styles were made in CSS.
Poetic Dialogues is a dynamic web work that emulates a slot machine, where 3 people appear and recite verses. The dialogue among the characters ends as an articulated poem, allowing users to create hundreds of new video-poems. This work was programmed in Flash/ActionScript/JavaScript and recorded using the prototype of the first wrist-watch camera.
Verses Versus Verses is an web project that generates 1000 different random poems from 3 simultaneous races between 10 different verses, which are literally running against each other. The 3 winning verses are printed for brief seconds on the screen until, once again, starts a new race. The reading of these sentences produces a structured and consistent poem.
Quetzalcoatl is comprised by several web pages that retrieve information from Twitter, CNN, Wall Street, Google Images, and NASA, among other real time data, juxtaposed with poetic sentences written by Merhi. The aim of this multidimensional project is to translate and bring back to the present the ancient experience of a ubiquitous but discernible “platform” known by the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl.
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