Mienophone | Zhe Wang & Daniel Heitz
21.05.21 -- 21.05.26

Mienophone is created by Zhe Wang and Daniel Heitz in collaboration, since 2019.
Music is controlling our emotions. It sometimes feels a bit like being a string puppet, while music is

the puppet master. It can make us dance or sink into sadness.

As Machine Learning Algorithm is becoming better at reading human emotions, can we use this technology to reverse this power of control? How does music sound like if it was directly controlled by our expressions and not the other way around? How would we react? Would it perhaps reinforce the emotion? Can technology help us to become more aware and better understand our emotions? And how does all this challenge the purpose of art and the role of the artist in the future?

These are the questions the artists explore with the Mienophone. In the exhibition, the artist duo is having a dialogue through different media: the Mienophone installation, video works and photos.

The project is funded by KARIN ABT-STRAUBINGER Stiftung Technical support: Berlin Glassworks

About "Mienophone"

Mienophone is an installation consisting of glass sculpture and a software synthesizer developed in MAX, a visual programming language for music and multimedia. A camera is recording a live video stream of the viewer. Selected frames of the video live stream are transmitted to the Microsoft Cognitive Services Vision API.

The Machine Learning Algorithm returns a numeric value for a set of emotions detected in the player's face in the video. The emotions detected are anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, neutral, sadness, and surprise. Each value is used to control a set of parameters of the software synthesizer and allows the viewer to influence the sound by expressing emotions.

The camera is placed in an organic-shaped glass sculpture. Since the glass surface is not flat, the camera's line of sight will be distorted, so the Machine Learning Algorithm will also read the viewer's image distorted. This also reminds us that whether Machine Learning Algorithm can see us clearly, does AI and humans really see each other? Is the "seeing" equal?

The shape of the glass is symbolically presented in a form similar to a human face; just like our imagination of AI, it is a human-like, inhuman subject. When faced with this infant-sized, fragile, human-like device, we will regard ourselves as parents of this new intelligence.
The main element that composes glass is silicide, and computer chips are the same. The history of glassmaking can be traced back to BC, far before the invention of iron melting technology. Although computer chips have only be invented for a few decades, the powerful driving force they provide to the development of human society cannot be quantified.

The development of Machine Learning Algorithm has been closely linked to the future of humankind. In the most optimistic scenario, we may be able to create a utopia where humans and superintelligence can coexist peacefully. Or, the omnipotent AI has mastered higher intelligence than human beings. Human beings live in a society controlled by AI, lose their creative ability, and only lament their own destiny.



In "once I showed you what I want," Zhé deconstructed the performances, images, and emotions of actors in movies by reinterpreting the close-ups of performers in old movies. Emotions are expressed through facial expressions, often in a moment, but at this moment, tens of thousands of facial nerves drive muscles to move together, just like a feast. Sometimes the emotions expressed by people are also extremely complex, such as self-deprecating laughter under extreme sadness. Can AI read such complex emotions instead of just telling us that this expression is 99.9% happy? 

In "let's laugh together," Zhé focused on the expression of laughter. In Dialectic of Enlightenment Adorno's description of laughter is very touché,

"Conciliatory laughter is heard as the echo of an escape from power; the wrong kind overcomes fear by capitulating to the forces which are to be feared. It is the echo of power as something inescapable."

In our power interaction with others, laughter is produced. We laugh at our weaknesses, we laugh at our ignorance, we laugh at the laughs of others.

*Zhé Wang (1988Jiangsu, China)* - In her artistic work, Zhé reflects on the experience of her surroundings through various media: photography, drawing, sound, video, and immersive installations. She explores her strong interest in mysticism with the experimental use of analog/digital films, ceramic, painting on photos, sound and multi-channel video compositions in order to create installations that allow the audience to experience the artist’s imagination in a playful yet tangible way. Her work treads between poetry, absurdity and humour just as she experiences in her daily life.

More works please go to

*Daniel Heitz (1982 Lahr, Germany)*– Daniel is an Entrepreneur and Artist living and working in Bansko, Bulgaria. His main interest is in human consciousness and how it relates to creative expression and perception of art. He is often using sound as a medium. With Mienophone, he explores the role of AI and human emotion in the music making process.

王哲,在她的艺术作品中使用了多种媒体,从摄影,绘画和录像到装置和声音艺术。通过这些不同 的 媒介,她从自身经验出发以主观⻆度反思自己与环境的关系。在她的某些作品中展现出了她对神 秘 主义表现出的浓厚兴趣。她通过实验的方式开发了自己的艺术语言,并采用了各种材料,例如胶 片,数字影像,陶瓷,照片绘画,声音合成和多频道视频装置,通过创造一个空间装置,使观众以 一种 生动有趣的方式体验艺术家的想象世界。这些作品充满诗意,荒诞和幽默感,就像她自己正在 经历 生活一样。艺术家还关注在这个后工业时代的人与社会之间的关系以及人们的工作,生活和交 流方 式的变化,这些话题一直吸引着艺术家的注意力。

Daniel Heitz,是在保加利亚班斯科生活和工作的德国艺术家。 他的主要兴趣是人类意识及其与创 造性表达和艺术感知的关系。 他经常以声音为媒介。 通过Mienophone,他探索了机器学习算法和 人类情感在音乐制作过程中的作用。