IAAA         ArtiFacial Expression         Huge Harry

  Max/DECtalk code of a lecture by Huge Harry, presented on May 29, 1998 at the Conference "Come to Your Senses!", Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Felix Meritis, Amsterdam. The lecture included a live demonstration of our face-interface-technology, and was concluded with a facial choreography piece, accompanied by a Trimpin-Vorsetzer on piano.

Huge Harry

Institute of Artificial Art, Department of ArtiFacial Expression

The Human Interface System; Theory and Applications.

[:nh] [:ra 120] Good afternoon\, Ladies\, and Gentlemen. My name is Huge Harry. I am a [kaam'ahrshaxliy] available [v"oys s'ihnthaxzihs] machine. I was designed by Dennis Klatt\, at the [ehmayt'iy] Speech Laboratory\, and [prahdy'uwst] by the Digital Equipment Corporation. [ :ra 150] Currently\, I work here in [aamstaxrd'aam]\, as a researcher and a spokes-machine\, at the Institute of Artificial Art\, just across the street here on the [kehihzaxrs-gr'aaghxt].

I feel very honoured to be invited by the ['aemstaxrdaem] School of Cultural Analysis\, to give the closing talk at this conference. So far\, most speakers at this conference were [hx"yuwmaxn] persons\, and many of them talked about technology. So I feel it is quite proper that I am enabled now to [sp"iyk] here\, from my own\, [k`aampyuwt'eyshaxnaxl] perspective\, about the [hxy"uwmaxn] senses.

My talk will consist of two parts. The first part is concerned with the human sensory [aepaxr'aetaxz]\, and with the semiotic system that human persons employ\, to signal information about their [paxrs'ehpchuwaxl] and [ihnt'axrpraxtihv] processes to each other. It will also introduce some ['ihntaxrfeys] technology\, that I have developed to be able to investigate this issue. In the second part of my talk\, I will then discuss and demonstrate some artistic applications of this technology. [_<1500>]

O.K.[_<100>] I think that everyone here agrees\, that the future of our culture depends\, on the way in which human persons\, digital computers\, and other kinds of electronic\, mechanical\, and bio-chemical machines\, will manage to work together. And to prepare for that future\, we need a discussion in which every-one concerned [paart'ihsihp`eyts] on [axn] equal footing. What we want\, is a world that includes humans\, animals\, computers\, and other equipment\, in a harmonious collaboration\, in which ["iych] has their proper place.

Or, as our colleague Donna [hx"aerahwey] has put it, [ :nw :ra 130] A cyborg world, in which people are not afraid of their joint kinships with animals and machines, not afraid of permanently partial [ayd'ehntihtiyz], and [kaontrahd"ihktahriy] standpoints. The political struggle is, to see from both perspectives at once, because ["iych] reveals both dominations and possibilities, ["ahnihm`ehjhihnaxblx] from the other [v'aentahjh] point. [:nh :ra 150 _<1500>]

Now that is very nice theory. But I have found that it is not easy to put this into practice\, because it is very difficult for a computer\, to communicate its thoughts to a human person. You may be surprised to hear this, cause you probably think, that modern digital computers can [q'aolweyz] communicate their thoughts, in a completely direct way. They can [q'aolweyz] display or print their programs, their [d'eytaa-str`ahkchahrz], and their [m'aen-tahl] images. And if you really want to get subtle and [q'ihn-tihmaht], most computers are [q'aolweyz] willing and able to make a [k"aor] dump, which exposes all details of their [m'aen-tahl] state.

Compared to [axn] electronic computer, a human person almost seems a black box. [_ :ra 150] That is why you may think, that computers never have communication problems. But they [d"uw]. Cause, communication takes [t"uw]. It is not enough to put out the information.There must be someone at the other end of the line, and they must be able to [diyk"owd] their input.

So when computers want to communicate with human persons, this often fails miserably. Cause human persons are not very good at [diyk'owdihnx] computer output. They get very confused, when you give them a [k"aor] dump. And when you [priyz'ehnt] them with a nice high [rehzowl'uwshaxn] image, on your [siy-aar-t'iy] display, they think it is ["aart], and they just [st"aer] at it. So therefore I started to wonder, how do human persons in fact manage to communicate with each other?

Well\, of course they have language. But language has well-known problems and limitations\, some of which you experience right now. So this brings me to the theme of this conference. The [s"ehnsihz]. [kahz] there is something very interesting going on with the human senses. This is something which is often overlooked\, but ["iyziy] to explain.

We know that human [kaogn'ihshaxn] is almost exclusively concerned with [paxrs"ehpshaxn]. And we also know that the only thing that human persons care about\, is other human [p"axrsaxnz]. So we can predict\, that there is one particular kind of process\, that human persons would want to monitor very carefully\, and that is\, the [paxrs"ehpchuwaxl] processes\, of ["ahdhaxr] human persons. Now you might think that this is not possible\, [kahz] perception is [axn] internal process that [gowz'aon] inside someone's brain\, so [qaxn"axdhaxr] person cannot [aobz'axrviht]. But that is precisely what I want to talk about [tuwd'ey].

I have found out that people display a lot of signals to each other all the time\, which indicate many detailed characteristics of their perceptual and [ihnt'axrpraxtihv] processes. [_] To demonstrate my [f'ayndihnxz]\, I have brought along a particular kind of portable person\, which is called [axn "aarthahr "ehlzaxnaar]. I like this kind of person a lot\, because of its [ehkstr"iymliy] machine-friendly [hx"aardwaer] features.

Let us take a closer look at such a person. What is the closest thing they have to a [siy aar t"iy] display?

Arthur Elsenaar's face

[_ :ra 120] Right. They have a face. [_ :ra 150] Now I have observed, that humans use their faces quite effectively, to signal the parameter settings of their operating systems. And that they are very good at decoding the meanings of each other's faces.
So\, how do they [d"uw] that? Well\, look at the face of our ["aarthahr "ehlzahnaar]. What does it tell [q] us about his perceptual processes? Not much\, you might think. But now\, [w"eyt] a moment.

Sad face

You see? Arthur is [s"aed], is what people say, when they see a face like this. So what is going ["aon] here? What I [d"ihd] is, I sent [axn] electrical signal to two particular muscles, in the face of our ["aarthahr "ehlzahnaar]. These muscles have sometimes been called the Muscles of Sadness. There is one on the left, and one on the right.

Left sadness Right sadness

They usually operate together. If I stop the signal, the sadness stops. When I turn it ["aon] again, it [st"aarts] again.
By sending this signal to Arthur's muscles\, I simulate what Arthur's brain would do\, if Arthur's operating system would be running global belief revision processes\, that are killing a lot of other active processes\, involving a large number of [k'aonflihkt-rehzowl`uwshaxnz]\, and priority [r`iy-axs'ehsmaxnts].
When a person's operating system is in this kind of state\, we know that their [paxrsehpchuwaxl] processes are [ehkstr"iymliy `ahnriyl'ayaxbaxl]. As a side effect of the destructive belief revision\, new input may be [diyl"iytihd] before it is properly processed.
Or new input may receive strange and ['axnl`aykliy] interpretations\, because in the state of sadness\, the system's probability calculations are not based on a [kowhx'iyraxnt] world model.

[_<1500>] The intensity of the signal that is sent to the muscles of sadness\, is proportional to the amount of destructive global belief revision\, that is going on.

Blank face

For instance, now I have set the signal intensity to 0 again. Arthur is not sad. Now we put a relatively small signal, about 20 Volts, on the muscles of sadness.

Tinge of sadness

Arthur feels a tinge of sadness. Now a somewhat larger signal, about 25 Volts. Arthur's sadness starts to get serious. Now I [ihnkr'iyz] the signal once more.

Miserable face

You see? Now the signal is about 30 Volts, and Arthur feels really miserable. [:ra 120] This is what we call [ehkspr"ehshahn]. [:ra 150] By means of this mechanism, the face displays clear indications of the settings of virtually all system parameters that determine the operation of the human mind. These parameter settings are what humans call [iym"owshahnz]. They denote them by means of words like [s'aednaxs], joy, boredom, tenderness, love, lust, ['ehkstaxsiy], aggression, [ihriht'eyshahn], fear, and pain.

These parameter settings, determine the system's [ihnt'axrpraxtihv b'ayaxsihz], its readiness for [q] action, the allocation of its computational resources, its processing speed, [ehts'ehtaxraa]. The French [n`uwrow-fihsiy'aolaojhihst] [duhsh'ehnn dax buwl"aonyax] has pointed out that even the most fleeting changes in these parameter settings are encoded [ihnstahnt'eyniyahsliy] in muscle contractions on the human face. And ["aol] humans do this in the [s"eym] way. This is [axn] extremely interesting feature of the human ['ihntaxrfeys hx'aardwaer], which I will explore a little further now.

So let us get back to the first slide.

Blank face

This face, which we thought was un-expressive, was in fact quite meaningful. This is what we call a [bl"aenxk] face. A blank face is a face in its neutral [pahz'ihshahn]. It indicates that all parameters have their default settings. But almost all parts of a human face can be moved to other [pahz'ihshahnz], and these displacements indicate rather precisely, to what extent various parameter settings [dayv'axrjh] from their defaults. So let us consider these parts in more detail.

When we look at a human face, the first thing we notice is the thing that notices ["ahs]. The eyes. The eyes constitute a very sophisticated stereo-camera, with a built-in motion-detector, and a high-band-width parallel ['ihntaxrfeys], to a powerful pattern-matching algorithm. The eye-balls can roll, to pan this camera. The eyes are protected by eye-lids and eye-brows. The eye-brows are particularly interesting for our discussion, because their movements seem to be purely expressive.

Left eyebrow Right eyebrow Two eyebrows

They may indicate, for instance, puzzlement, curiosity, or [dihsaxgr"iymaxnt]. But I want to emphasize here, that the range of parameter values that the eyebrows can express, is much more subtle than what the words of language encode. The shape and [paoz'ihshaxn] of a person's eyebrows encodes the values of 5 different cognitive system parameters, ["iych] with a large range of possible values. Let me demonstrate [thr"iy] of them.

First I put a slowly increasing signal on the muscles called [fraant'aalihz], or Muscles of Attention.

We see that this muscle can lift the eyebrow to a considerable extent, also producing a very pronounced [k"ahrvaxtyahr] of the eyebrow. As a side-effect of this motion, the forehead is wrinkled with curved furrows, that are [kaons"ehntrihk] with the curvature of the eyebrow. The contraction of this muscle indicates a person's readiness to receive new signals, and the availability of processing power and working memory, for analysing these signals.

Then, I will now stimulate a part of the [q'aorbiykuwl`aarihz q"owkuwliy], that is called the Muscle of Reflection.


We see now that the whole eyebrow is lowered. As a result, the wrinkles in the forehead have disappeared. This muscle is contracted if there is [axn] ongoing process that takes up a lot of a person's computational resources. To prevent [ihnaxrf'iyraxns] with this process, input signals are not [ehgz'aostihvliy] analysed. The degree of contraction indicates to what extent the input signal throughput is reduced.

Then, there is another part of the [q'aorbiykuwl`aarihz q"owkuwliy], that can be triggered separately. It is called the Muscle of Disdain. Its contraction looks like this:


The contraction of this muscle indicates to what extent current input is ignored as being [ihr'ehlaxvaxnt]. Of course, non-zero values for these system-parameters may be combined, and these values may be different for the left and the right hemispheres:

Now let us look at the [m"awth-piys] of our ['aarthahr 'ehlzahnaar]. The mouth is a general intake organ, which can swallow solid materials, liquids, and air. In order to monitor its input materials, the mouth has a built-in chemical analysis capability. At the same time, the mouth is used as [axn 'awtleht] to expel processed air. Because humans do not have [l"awd-spiykaxrz], they use this process of expelling air for [jh'ehnaxr`eytihnx] sounds.

Mouth open

In emergency circumstances, the mouth can also be used as [axn 'awtleht] to expel blood, [m'uhkahs], rejected food, or other ['ahnwaontihd] substances. When the mouth is not used for input or output, it is normally closed off by a muscle, which is called the [l"ihps].

Lips closed

The lips have a large repertoire of movements. There are at least [s"ihks] other muscles, that interact directly with the lips. I will now demonstrate [f"aor] different movements.

First we show the muscles of joy. These muscles produce a kind of grin.


They signal, that the operating system is in good working order, and is not encountering any problems. There is heightened activity, in the left frontal lobes of the brain. When, on the other hand, the activity in the left frontal lobes is unusually low, the brain is involved in destructive processes of global belief revision. As we saw [biyf'aor], this is signalled by another pair of muscles, called the muscles of sadness. Here they [q] are, once more.


And finally, I will now trigger several muscle pairs at the same time. [q'aorbiykuwl`aarihs q"owrihs], and [diypr'ehsaor laabiyiy-iyiy q`iynfeyriy"owrihs], and the Muscle of Disdain, and the Muscle of Sadness.

[_<500>] The parameter-setting that is displayed here, clearly indicates serious processing difficulties of some sort.

O.K. [_<800>] Then we have the [n"owz]. [_<300>] The nose is used for the intake of air. It is also equipped with a chemical analysis capability. The possible motions of the nose are curiously limited, although its pointed [pr'ehzaxns] in the centre of the human face, would make it a very suitable instrument for expression. I have [th"aot] about this, and I have come to the conclusion, that it is probably the main function of the nose, to serve as a stable orientation point for our perception, so that [saymahlt'eyniyahz] movements of the other parts of the face, can be ['ahnaemb`ihgyuwaxzliy] measured and interpreted.

And finally, for the sake of completeness, I want to mention the [q"iyrz], on both sides of the face, which constitute [axn] auditory stereo input device. Some people can [w"ihglx] these ears, but I have not been able to determine, what the expressive function of that movement might [b"iy].

This brings [axn] end to my quick survey\, of the most important parts of the human face\, and their expressive possibilities.
And therefore this brings us to the second part of my talk. [kahz] this conference is not only about [s"ay-axns]. The organizers have emphasized that we get a different kind of knowledge\, which is equally valid\, through the practice of ["aart]. So [dh"aet] is what I want to demonstrate now.
Many of the expressive possibilities I showed\, were related to emotions\, that are well recognized in the lexicons of many human languages. These are emotions that may be encountered fairly often in daily life. [m'ehn-taxl] states which are close to neutral\, where only one parameter has a non-default value.
So that was description\, imitation\, [mihm'iyzihs]. But some other things I showed were more complex. There we saw the power of ["aart]. I showed you some new cognitive states which you have never encountered or experienced\, but which you recognize and understand completely\, by means of a visceral ['ehmpaxthiy] which involves every cell of your body.

So that is what I want to explore a little further\, in the last part of this talk.

You see what happens now. Every human person knows [ehgz'ehktliy]\, in what state another human person is\, when they make a face like [dh"ihs]. [kahz] they know what state [dh"ey] would be in\, if [dh"ey] would make a face like this.
And you also see now [qaxn] illustration of the possibilities of a [n"uw qaart'ihstihk] genre. You see that by means of computer controlled\, algorithmic choreography\, we can achieve [axn] ['axny`uwzhuwaxliy] precise articulation\, of the existential anxiety and incoherent emotional state\, of modern and post-modern humans.

But algorithmic choreography is not [ihnhx'ehraxntliy] sad. On the contrary! Its most exciting possibility lies in its potential\, to create [d"iyp] happiness in the hearts of human persons\, by resolving the contradictions of their lives\, and the paradoxes of their thinking.
Seemingly ['ihn-kaxm`ehnzhaxraxbaxl] dimensions of life and reality\, can be merged into a harmonious [`iykwihl'ihbriyaxm]. In one and the same ['ihndihvihzihbaxl] moment\, we can experience the serene beauty of mathematics\, and the [s'ehnzhuwaxs maxtiyriy'ehlihtiy] of the human body.
So that is what I want to demonstrate now. I will show you a [s'iykwaxns] of mathematically defined patterns on ['aarthahr 'ehlzaxnaars] face\, accompanied by a [s'iykwaxns] of mathematically defined patterns on the piano.

[:nh :ra 150] First I show a [s'iykwaxns] of translations in the [yuwkl'ihdiyaxn] plane.

And now we apply the transformations to a somewhat more complex pattern\, and we make their succession a little [f'aestaxr]. [_]

O.K. [_<1000>] Then I would now like to demonstrate a rather elegant symmetric pattern on the eyebrows.

And some patterns on the lips.

And some [m"aor].

And here are some interesting symmetry-transformations that you probably have not seen [biyf'aor].

And some more\, this time a little [f'aestaxr].

And now some very fast vibrations!

[_<1500>] You see? We just saw the ultimate post-modern [tr'aens-rowm`aentihk iym'owshaxnaxl] state\, where ["aol] the different [iym'owshaxnz] that the human mind is capable of\, merge into one\, [q"aol-ehnk`aampaxsihnx]\, [khxey'aotihk] oscillation.

[:nh :ra 130] So\, if humans are not afraid to wire themselves ["ahp-wihth] computers\, the next step in computer ["aart]\, will be a new and ["axn-pr`ehsaxdehntihd] kind of collaboration between [hx"yuwmaxnz] and [maash"iynz]!
[:ra 120] We will have [ehlgowr"ihthmihk] choreography\, by [kaxmpy"uwtaxr-k`axntrowld] human faces! [f"aynaxliy]\, the computers accuracy and abstract skills\, will be married with the warmth\, the smoothness\, and [q"aol] the other ['ehmpaxthiy] evoking properties of the [hx"yuwmaxn fl"ehsh]!

I have been very grateful for this opportunity to [priyz'ehnt] my ideas\, to such [axn ax-t'ehn-tihv] audience. I would [ehsp'ehshaxliy] like to thank my [ "aarthahr "ehlzahnaar]\, for his patient cooperation\, and I want to thank you [q"aol]\, for your attention.

[ _<6000> th"aenk] you!