Yucef Merhi

Venezuela

Yucef Merhi (b. 1977) holds a Master degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University. His artistic practice began in the mid 1980s. He is known as the first artist in exhibiting a work of art that included a video game console, the Atari 2600, back in 1985. As a pioneer of Digital Art, Merhi has produced a wide body of works that engage electronic circuits, computers, video game systems, touch screens, and other devices. Merhi’s career encompasses a world wide exhibition record in places such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Neuberger Museum, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Newark Museum, Hunterdon Museum, Orange County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Bass Museum of Art, among others; as well as museums and exhibition spaces in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Spain, Italy, England, Holland, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey and Israel. Merhi has received several grants and awards including a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in Digital/Electronic Arts.


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Poet On Earth

2017
Interactive Installation, with sound
Commissioned by Screen City Biennial


Poet on Earth is a multilingual interactive installation comprised by videos, dynamic images and sounds, from Yucef Merhi’s 40 year-long journey as a Venezuelan immigrant. The work continues Merhi’s artistic investigations into the endless possibilities of poetic constructions initiated in 1985. Being an immigrant, a nomad, and a citizen without homeland, has become a lifestyle for many people in the world. Between 1999 and 2015 more than 1.8 million Venezuelans had migrated abroad. The number of Venezuelans living in other countries during this period increased more than 2,000%. Experts have described this phenomenon as “Bolivarian diaspora”. For Yucef Merhi, being an immigrant has been more of an existential voyage than a political struggle. Poet on Earth presents a responsive network of memories that are triggered chronologically, showing significant moments of the artist’s life (i.e. 1978 footage of his first steps at Plaza Bolívar in Caracas; standing at the Tower of Babel – The Great Mosque at Samara – in Iraq; exploring a sacred forest in Ecuador; meditating in a VR environment; and so on). Audiences may access the network of memories by their movements and intimate engagement with the video image.