Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha, collaborative performance art/lecture presentation at MIT Media Lab, 1996, March 13, and visit to the lab

Performance Art / Colloquium talk

Wednesday, March 13, 1996 4:30 - 6:00 PM Bartos Theater, E15-070

Towards a Digital Computer with a Human Face
Huge Harry

In this talk, I present some recent results of my research on the mechanism of human facial expression. I have observed that human persons use the contractions of their facial muscles to display to each other, without noticeable effort, the momentary internal states of their operating systems. I will present a live demo of this mechanism, by stimulating the facial muscles of a so-called "Arthur Elsenaar" (a particular type of portable person that has a very machine-friendly interface). This will show the capabilities of the human interface hardware are extremely subtle and powerful. In contrast, digital computers have always found it very difficult to convey their internal states to human persons in a precise and reliable way. To solve this problem, they should also take advantage of the magnificent interface hardware that humans employ so happily. The next step in computer interface technology will be the human face.

Huge Harry is one of the voices of the speech synthesis system DECtalk, designed by Dennis Klatt at the MIT Speech Laboratory. He is well-known as a singer in various musical genres, including rock & roll, techno house, and avant-garde opera. His theoretical work focuses on issues concerning arts and technology. He has lectured about this topic in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Since 1994, Huge Harry collaborates with Arthur Elsenaar and Remko Scha in a research project concerning the human interface hardware.

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