Moving Portraits

Rose Swan Meacham

Moving Portraits is a video series that documents the subtle facial gestures that express internal emotional states. Fusing art and scientific practices, nearly 100 portraits of the six universal emotions were recorded and analyzed quantitatively.


Psychological research has classified six facial expressions that correspond to distinct universal emotions: disgust, sadness, happiness, fear, anger, and surprise. But do we truly understand how to interpret these internal states in other people? And is it possible for a computer to use predictive algorithms to determine emotions in humans? In an effort to explore these question, I generated a series of slow motion video portraits documenting the detailed gestures and physiological states of subjects responding to emotional stimuli. A classification tool and library of quantified emotions was used to analyze the subjects' movements and train neural networks to identify the motions indicating specific internal states.