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By Rhizome

The technology behind Yucef Merhi's work delivers his poetry in an alluring package, while the artist seeks to redefine the position of the poet, finding connections between the way he writes code and the way he writes poems. This is the premise of 'Poetic Engineering,' Merhi's current solo exhibition at the Orange County Museum of Art. In an installation entitled 'Super Atari Poetry,' the artist focuses on poetry as a gentler subject than that of most video games. Rather than battling space invaders or dodging oncoming traffic, the object of this multiplayer game is to reorganize pre-composed poetry verses, like shifting the pieces of a magnetic poetry kit. In the video 'Poetic Dialogues,' a row of talking heads are rendered and compressed at a low frame rate and served-up slot machine style, each mouthing morsels of poetry with lips that are out of sync. The cadence is lilting. On view through August 28th, 'Poetic Engineering' offers these and other opportunities to speculate on the poetic. - Jillian McDonald

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