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Reviews of
"The Varieties of Human Facial Expression" 

"Arthur Elsenaar is interested in the mechanical aspects of human, so-called natural behaviour. Quite literally, he connects the human person with technology. His own or someone else's body is wired with electrodes that are triggered by external impulses (sounds, movements). Body parts function in a mechanical way. What Elsenaar does is not based on a naive optimism about the boundless possibilities of technology. The often ominous manipulations to which humans are subjected in his performances, also display a certain skepticism about technical developments. In the video 'The Varieties of Human Facial Expression,' Elsenaar shows 4096 expressions of the face."

Edna van Duyn and Wineke Onstwedder: "Arthur Elsenaar."
In: unlimited.nl, Exhibition catalogue De Appel, Amsterdam, 1998.

". . . Arthur Elsenaar's video The Varieties of Human Facial Expression can only be properly appreciated in the awareness that the face which is manipulated by electrodes is nothing more than that. You think you are looking at a patient, pulling faces under his treatment, but Elsenaar's guinea pig is only an object: all of his 4096 expressions are equally gratuitous."

Wilma Sütö: "De Appel." De Volkskrant, January 1998.

"Elsenaar behaves like a scientist. He has equipped his face with electronic wiring which is activated by electronic sounds, evoked by computational linguist Remko Scha. Every impulse operates on one or another facial muscle; according to the press release this results in 4096 facial expressions. Is that a large or a small number? If the face is the mirror of the soul, it is only a beginning; to probe deeper, Elsenaar would have to employ his imagination."

Anna Tilroe: "Sometimes a lazy eye is sufficient. New Dutch art in De Appel."
NRC Handelsblad,
February 6, 1998.


"The video by Arthur Elsenaar was the only really convincing work. Through wires and electrodes his face is continually put in motion. The Varieties of Human Facial Expression (in which we can discern, if we watch closely and keep looking long enough, 4096 expressions of the face) is a specimen of a classical portrait. It is an exemplary piece because it throws a new light on the old esthetics when Remko Scha's software kneads his face. He seems to work in the tradition of F.X. Messerschmidt, the eighteenth century sculptor who made a series of busts with the most impossible facial expressions. Elsenaar shows expressions of pain and laughter, reflection and surprise, and all possible other mental and bodily experiences. These are not only the basic expressions of the modern human and the modern artist, but because of their artificial character they also say something about the existential sphere of the postmodern artwork. No doubt Elsenaar's pose also involves the sexual extasy which in other work here is hinted at, but shown in a somehow disguised way."

Paul Groot: "Nederland speciaal." Metropolis M, 1998, nr. 2, p. 52.