Yöti: The Algorithmic Portrait Artist

Yöti is an automated portrait artist that uses salvaged 1980s pen plotters to draw, on actual paper, the likeness of participants using algorithmically-generated squiggly lines. From up close, the portraits look like an abstract collection of linear markings. However, from a distance, the lines clearly reveal Yöti’s interpretation of the visitor’s visage.



Yöti can be thought of as a deconstructed photobooth. Just like the good old analog photobooths, Yöti takes a few minutes to draw a portrait. During this time, visitors can witness their face slowly being drawn on paper by the plotters.

The installation invites the visitor to reconsider our relation to anticipation and immediateness. This feels particularly relevant in these times of instant gratification through selfies, SnapChat and Instagram.  

By purposefully using « outdated » technologies, the installation also questions our relation to obsolescence, ephemerality and permanence.

 It also takes interest in our rapport to the physical world. All participants leave with a physical object : a piece of paper bearing their portrait. Virtual, artificial and augmented realities are all fine but sometimes it just feels good to hold on to an actual, tangible object.


HP 7440A pen plotters, 3D-printed pen adapter, Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens, PVC pipes, touchscreens, NW.js 



Yöti: The Algorithmic Portrait Artist