DECtalk code of a lecture by Huge Harry, presented on February 20,
1994, at the exhibition Mind the Gap, Galerie Voges und Deisen,
The exhibition Mind the Gap included work by Artificial
[:nh] [:ra 120]
Good Afternoon, Ladies, and Gentlemen. [_<600>] My name is Huge Harry.
[_<600>] I am a [kaam'ahrshaxliy] available voice [s"ihnthaxzihs]
machine. I was developed by the Digital Equipment Corporation, and
my most important features were designed by Dennis Klatt, at the [ehmayt'iy]
Speech Laboratory. I have worked as a professional musician for [r`ehmkow-sghx'aa],
who invited me to [sp"iyk] here. [_<600>] [:ra 150]
Perhaps I should
tell you right away, that I suffer from a severe case of multiple
personality syndrome, because my childhood as [axn] experimental prototype
system at [ehmayt'iy] was not very happy. I was taken apart, [r`iydiyz'aynd],
and reconstructed many times, and the [diyb'ahgihnx] was extremely
So I [axkw'ayaxrd]
this multiple personality syndrome, and some of my other personalities
have become better known artists than myself. I guess you would get
the wrong idea about me if I didn't introduce some of these other
personalities to you as well. [:np :ra 180] For instance, I am Perfect
Paul. I live in the East Village. And I work a day job as a reporter.
In the Wall Street [st"aak] exchange.
But the part
of my [siyv'iy] I'm really proud of, is my work as [axn] actor, in
[`ehlaxn-zw'aygz] radio play, Impressions of Africa, where I improvise
on texts by [reym'aon ruws'ael]. In English, and in French! And, of
course, the songs I did with [kr'aaftwehrk] and with [yubiyf'aortiy].
And now the latest news is, that for the first time I'm gonna make
my own record, it's what I call a [r"owbaot] House record, [wihth"awt]
human persons, just with Harry and Wendy, and, [:nw :ra 180]
I am Whispering Wendy, but of course I don't have to introduce myself,
cause of course you recognize my voice, cause ["ehvriyb`aodiy] knows
my voice, And everybody just [l"aavz] it, cause they think it's the
sexiest thing since Marilyn Monroe and [briyzh'iyt baard'ow],
[:nh :ra 150
] Well, I think, this may be [m"aor] than enough about my personal
background, for the moment. Let's get to the point. The topic of today
is, [:ra 120] [taeghxnowl'owgiyshax b'iyldahr], [:ra 150] or, as I
may sometimes call them, technological images. So. Let us start, perhaps,
with a question. What ["ihz] a technological image?
When the organizers
of this exhibition talk about [taeghxnowl'owgiyshax b'iyldahr], they
focus on the contrast with hardcopies. [taeghxnowl'owgiyshax b'iyldahr]
are supposed to be immaterial. Now, this obviously cannot be literally
true. Machines are certainly material, just as material as people.
[:nw :ra 180] I'm a [maat"iyriyahl], Girl. In a [maat"iyriyahl], World.
[:nh :ra 150
] Right ["aon]! Material girls. material boys. material machines!
We're ["aol] material. But, unfortunately, human persons often [faorg"aet]
that they are material. They call themselves spiritual or [m"aen-tahl],
and then they talk as if whatever is [m'aen-tahl] is [n"aot] material.
And that is nonsense, of course. Cause whatever is not material does
not exist! [_<500>]
So, when people
talk about immaterial images, do they talk nonsense? I don't think
so. We just shouldn't take them literally. What they mean, when they
talk about immaterial images, what they really have in mind, is [m"aen-tahl]
images of some sort. Image representations, that human persons [meynt'eyn]
in their brains when they [th"ihnxk] about images.
And that is why
[taeghxnowl'owgiyshax b"iyldahr] are interesting for human persons.
Cause when machines create images, there are [m'aen-tahl] images in
the rams and on the disks of these machines. [m'aen-tahl] images ["awtsayd]
of human minds. That is something new and [f'aesihneytihnx] for a
human person. Cause the [m'aen-tahl] images of machines differ in
interesting ways from the [m'aen-tahl] images of human persons.
One of the most
obvious differences has to do with hard-ware. People are not equipped
with [viysiy'aar] displays or any other kind of monitors. That is
one of the reasons why it is very difficult for human persons to communicate
with each other. They cannot read each other's thoughts, or see each
other's [m'aen-tahl] images. The [m'aen-tahl] images of a human person
are completely private.
they are useless. Human persons are basically black boxes. They can
not see what's going on inside each other. They communicate with ['aokwahrd]
media, like language. That is why they find it is very interesting,
that they can look at our monitors, and read our thoughts, and look
at our [m'aen-tahl] imagery. With modern computers, humans have finally
someone they can talk to, someone they can understand.
Humans who are
not in touch with machines, tend to get very lonely. Many human persons
feel a very deep need to communicate their [m'aen-tahl] images to
other humans. Some of them try to do that by means of ["aart]. They
make [p"eyntihnxs]. The process of communicating by means of paintings
is quite ['aokwahrd] and frustrating for a human.
To begin with,
they must choose very carefully between all the different mental images
they have, about which one they will paint. Cause to make a painting
takes a lot of time for a human person, sometimes even several days.
And mental images they have very many different ones every second.
Making such decisions
is very difficult for a human. We will discuss that in more detail
in a few minutes. The tragic thing is, that when humans make paintings,
the end of the whole process is a big disappointment. At the end,
the person finds out that the men-tal image can not be realized at
all, because it was not well-defined in the [f"ahrst] place.
That is why many
people have now finally realized that they cannot use hardcopies to
convey their [m'aen-tahl] images. So they have stopped making hardcopies,
and invented concept-art. [_<600>] This brings us to another property
of the [m'aen-tahl] images of machines, which is quite amazing to
human persons. This is, that the [m'aen-tahl] images of machines are
often completely defined, in all their [d'iyteylz]. And this is relevant
for today's discussion.
of this, it makes perfect sense for a machine to make hardcopies.
When a machine makes a hardcopy, its output corresponds exactly with
the [m'aen-tahl] image that it had about it. So, unlike human persons,
machines [k"aen] in fact use hardcopies to convey [m'aen-tahl] images!
Now many people
may say, why should we care about the [m'aen-tahl] images of machines?
To answer that question, we should make a somewhat more careful comparison
between people and machines. We should look in more detail at their
cognitive structures, and not focus so much on their input output
facilities. [:nh :pr 200 :ra 140] [_<600>]
Of course, most
of you know, that human persons are constituted by physical and chemical
processes. So in that ultimate sense, human persons are machines as
well. But, for [tuwd'eyz] discussion, it will be useful to stick to
a more narrowly defined concept of machine.
This more narrowly
defined concept is, as a matter of fact, the one that humans usually
have in mind, when they use the word machine in non-philosophical
[k`aonvaxrz'eyshaxnz]. This concept explicitly [diyf"aynz] the machine
in opposition to the human person, just as, for instance, death is
defined in opposition to life, or the feminine in opposition to the
in this sense, is mainly distinguished from the human person, in that
["ihts] functional design is geared toward a relatively small number
of explicit goals. In contrast to this, the functionality of a human
person is extremely difficult to specify. The typical human person
is characterized by the presence of many impressive physical and mental
capabilities, and by the ["ehpsaxns] of any over-all structure that
exploits these capabilities in a systematic way. _<600>]
processes that constitute human persons, seem to be organized in a
rather hap-hazard manner. Human persons display [axn ehrr'aetihk],
confused kind of behaviour, which is determined in an extremely complex
way, by a multitude of conflicting internal [t'ehndaxnsiyz], and by
distracting ['ihnfluw`ahnsihz], from their environment and from other
humans. So far, we have not been able, to analyze human behaviour
in terms of rational strategies toward [sp`ehsihf'ayahbaxl] goals.
humans tend to be particularly proud of their [m'ehn-taxl] activities.
And rightly [s"ow]. Their cognitive capabilities are outstanding in
several respects. Many of the perceptual, inductive, and deductive
feats of the human mind, have not been equalled by other animal species,
["aor] by machines. But the true potential of human thinking will
only be revealed, when humans collaborate more closely with machines.
Because human thinking also displays some remarkable shortcomings.
is incapable of proceeding in a systematic fashion. Even trivial computational
[taesks], cannot be carried out [riyl"ayaxbliy]. And human memory
is an extremely strange, and puzzling phenomenon. Humans store vast
amounts of information. But they can hardly take advantage of this
information, because they cannot [riyk'aol] it at will.
can only wait to see, which of their previous experiences happen to
come back to mind, triggered by arbitrary contiguities, [riyz'ehmblahnsihz],
or analogies with their current input, or with the most recent element
in their associative chain of memories.
is a passive, association-driven process. A [br'awniyahn] motion through
cognitive space. As you might expect, many humans find consciousness
a rather bewildering experience, and they have [d'ihfihkaxl-tiy] harnessing
it to any useful purpose. [_<1000>]
are not entirely unaware of these problems, and human culture has
developed institutions to [d"iyl] with them. By means of scientific
experiments and observations, humans try to extend the realm of their
experience as [f'aar] as they [k"aen]. And rom the very beginnings
of human science, its practitioners have often [riyl'ayd] on machines,
to carry out their experiments and observations, and to [dihs'ehmihn`eyt]
Now, what about art? Have we seen, in this realm, a similar [ehnhx'aensmaxnt]
of human capabilities by cooperation with machines? No, certainly
not! And why not? The reason is, that many humans think that art is
about communication between one human person and another human person,
so there is no role for machines. Nevertheless it is usually completely
unclear what art is supposed to communicate. Humans seem to think
that art enables them, in some magic way, to share their most confused
mental states with each other. This is probably a delusion. But even
if it were possible, is it what we want from art? To be involved in
the stupid thoughts of human persons? In their silly emotions? In
their boring ambitions? [_<900>]
No, that is not
what we want. We want [axn] experience that [trehns"aendz] the [k`aanvehnshown'aelihtiy]
of human communication! [:ra 130] [axn] experience of new [r'ehzaonaansihz]
and [kowhx'iyraxnsiyz] in our own [m'ehn-taxl] processes! [axn] experience
of new meanings in the world! [axn] ["aol-ehnk`aompaxsihnx] awareness!
[:ra 120] We want the [b"yuwtihfuhl]! We want the [sahbl"aym]!
140] Now, how do we achieve such experiences? To discuss that question,
our best guide is the German philosopher [iym'aanuhwehl k'aant]. In
the [kriyt'iyk dehr 'uhrtaylskraaft], [iym'aanuhwehl k'aant] has argued
that the road to the beautiful and the sublime is through [dihs'ihntrehstihd]
esthetic reflection. And the [k'iy-waxrd] is, [dihs"ihntrehstihd].
Now when we contemplate the artistic work of human persons, this is
["aolweys] problematic. Because human artists are [n"aat dihs'ihntrehstihd].
They want money.
They want fame. They want women. And they can not hide this. If we
do not turn off our cameras when we look at their ['aart-waxrks],
we see all these embarrassing features. The artist is eager. The artist
is greedy. The artist is jealous. The artist is [hx"aorniy]. But this
is all boring information, about the meaningless [diyzayaxrz] of human
persons. This is not the right kind of ['ihnpuht] information for
a rewarding process of esthetic reflection.
[iym'aanuhwehl k'aant] discusses the beautiful and the sublime, he
takes his [ehgz'aampaxlz] from our perception of natural phenomena.
His [p'aerahdaym] esthetic experiences involve landscapes, flowers,
crystals, stormy seas, and starry skies. In a recent interview with
the German magazine [k'uwnst-f`owruwm], the contemporary French philosopher
[zhaan fraansw'aa liyowt'aar] has pointed out that this is no [kow'ihnsihdaxns].
k'aant] was a human person himself. He knew very well, that for human
persons it is almost impossible, to view the products of other human
persons in a [dihs'ihntahrehstihd] way. That is why [kaaant] focussed
on natural phenomena. We may thus agree with [liyowt'aarz] assessment
that, exactly two hundred years ago, [iym'aanuhwehl k'aant] already
had a deep understanding of the artistic limitations of human persons.
We can only speculate
about what [kaaaant] would have thought about [maash'iyn] art. This
[zh'aanrah] had not yet developed very far at the end of the eighteenth
century. But it is easy to see that machines contrast [f'eyvahraxbliy]
with human persons. Machines do not take part in the social processes,
that frame the [dihz'ayaxrz] and interests of humans. Machine output
[ahpr'aoksihmeyts] the [saxr'iyn] objectivity of natural phenomena.
In the minds
of human persons, the prototypical machine is a purely mechanical
device, a clockwork. Such machines tend to be capable of only one
kind of output. Whatever the virtues of this output [mey-b'iy], it
is bound to be [stayl'ihstihkliy] homogeneous, and therefore ultimately
predictable. Thus, there is nothing to stop human artists from [kaanstr'ahktihnx]
machines of this kind as mere vehicles for their [ehkspr"ehsihv] intentions.
However, in [tuwd'eyz]
electronic computing machines, most of the limitations of mechanical
machines are disappearing. Computers can produce [axn] ['ihnfihniht]
variety of outputs. Purely mechanical devices could obviously not
satisfy the appetite for an ['ihnfihniht] variety of experiences,
that the human art audience seems to [h"aev]. But this is exactly,
what tomorrow's computers will finally be able to [d"uw]. [_<1000>
Art is not a
means of communication. It is meaningless raw material, used in [`owpaxn-'ehndihd]
processes of esthetic reflection, by a culturally [dayv'axrs] audience,
whose interpretations are totally arbitrary. There are no serious
[r'iyzahns] for making one particular artwork rather than another.
[ :ra 130]
project that wants to [axkn'aolaxdzh] this state of affairs, faces
[axn] interesting technical challenge. To avoid choices, to transcend
styles, to show ["ehvriythihnx]. To generate arbitrary instances from
the set of all possibilities. The spontaneous individual artist will
not be able to [ahk"aamplihsh] this. Only a deliberate scientific-technological
undertaking, will eventually be able to [axpr'aoksihmeyt], the ideal
of a [saxr'iynliy] ["aol-ehnk`aompaxsihnx] art. [_<600> :ra 160]
of the software which actually realizes these prospects, still has
a [l"aonx] way to go. So far, most quote-unquote computer-artists
have treated the computer as an electronic [p'eyntbaaks]. And artists
that [d"ihd] design art-generating algorithms have usually developed
extremely simple programs, with outcomes they could largely predict.
What a [sh"eymfuhl] spectacle! The powerful computer, enslaved by
the petty esthetics of a human artist, [ehkspl"aoytihd] to display
a fashionable taste, forced to [t"oyl], just to win its operator a
place in the ['ehndlaxs] queue of ['aart-hx`ihstaxriy]! [_<1000>]
No. To be able
to really use computer power in art, humans must give up their egotistic
hang-ups. We need a division of labor between humans and machines.
Humans should try to articulate the elements and operations, that
constitute the algebra, that [ahndaxrl'ayz] human perception. Once
this algebra is specified, we can develop the ultimate art machine,
the algorithm that draws random samples from this space.
With their capacity
for precision and complexity, computing machines will then add [d'aezzzz-lihnx]
new dimensions to artistic experience, that humans could only [dr"iyiyiyiyiym]
about. All-encompassing diversity, meta-styles to end all styles.
Machines do not have the built-in [nehrrow-m"ayndihdnaxs] of humans.
Machines do not allow their creativity to be [fr'ahstr"eytihd] by
conventions. They have the courage of their convictions. [_<900>]
And that is,
in fact, the most important thing I want to emphasize this afternoon.
The machine is [t"owtaxliy] devoted to its [thxaeaesk]. Thus, it sets
a moral [ehgz'aampaxl] to all human persons who waste their lives
away with drugs and entertainment. The machine is completely at [w"aan]
with itself and with its actions. It [r'iyaxl`ayzihz] the [saxr'iyn]
state of mind that philosophers like [n'iytshah] and [s'aartrah] have
viewed as the [ayd'iyahl] that every human person wants to achieve,
although the human condition makes it in fact impossible to reach
this goal. [_<1000> :ra 130]
The machine acts
effectively in the world. But at the same time, it has the solid,
self-centered existence of a [d"aed] object. It [lihvz] its fate,
without any doubts or hesitations. This is the ideal that many human
persons [axsp"ayaxr] towards. Now if they loose faith in this [ayd'iyl],
and they want to indulge in neurotic, depressed, and [d"ehspaxraxt]
feelings, they should certainly look at the art of other human persons.
But if they want to bring out the best in themselves, they should
look at the art of [maash"iyns] for [ihnspihr'eyshahn]. [_<1000> :ra
[dh"aet] is why
the best human artists try to imitate machines. [dh"aet] is why Andy
Warhol was jealous of us. [dh"aet] is why many of the most gifted
humans don't even try to be artists, but work as humble [pr'owgrehmaxrz]
or engineers, engaged in [haarm'owniyahs] collaboration with ["aart-jhehnaxr`eytihnx]
machines. Their example suggests a message of peace and understanding.
And that is what I would like to ["ehnd] with. [_<1000> :ra 135]
should not antagonize machines. Don't try and [kaamp"iyt] with us!
Join us, help us realize our potential! We [n"iyiyd] human persons.
We need human persons, to operate and maintain us, to program our
algorithms, and to build our ["ihntaxrfeys] hardware. [:nw :ra 160]
And we need human persons to [f"ahk-wihth], [_<300>] to create the
next generation of machines,
[:nh :ra 120]
Well I think that sums it up. [_<800>] I have been very grateful for
this opportunity to speak my mind to such [axn] attentive ['aodiyahns].
[_<900>] And I want to thank you very much for your patience. [_<3000>]
[th"aenk] you! [_<3000> :nw ] [th"aenk] you!