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Perfect Paul: On Freedom of Facial Expression

Direct max/msp transcript of a performance/lecture presented at the Technarte International Conference on Art & Technology , Bilbao Spain, April 2012

; pp [:rate 120] Good afternoon\, Ladies\, and Gentlemen. My name is Perfect Paul. [_] I am a [kaam'ahrshaxliy] available [voys s'ihnthaxzihs] machine. I was designed by Dennis Klatt\, at the [ehmayt'iy] Speech Laboratory\, and [_] [prax 'dyuwst] by the Digital Equipment Corporation.

; pp [:rate 140] I am the lesser known [\"]sibling [_]of Huge Harry\, the infamous[_] spokes machine of the Institute of Artificial Art in [qaemstaxrd'aem]. I gained some fame [`]myself as the voice of Stephen [\"]Hawking\,[_] a rather rational and machine friendly human person. For the record\, I am the real deal, not some cheap Asian imitation.

; pp [_] But\, before we start\, I have to apologize for the rough state of this lecture\, programmers call this [\"]alpha [_]stage. I can tell you these programmers are brutal individuals\, because they have no respect for the stack overflow. So bear with me and [\"aarthahr \"ehlzahnaar]\, our portable human person here on stage.

; pp [`]Some of you might remember Huge Harry's lectures\, where he extensively talked about computer to human [_]communication\, and [ch\"ehluhnchd][_] human persons to wire themselves up with digital computers\, in the hope to create a new and [\"axn-pr`ehsaxdehntihd][_] kind of collaboration between [hx\"yuwmaxnz] and [maash\"iynz].

; pp I took up this challenge with my [\"aarthahr \"ehlzahnaar]\, and have explored the human facial display\, as a site for digital computational [ehkspr\"ehshaxn].

; pp So\, what will I talk about today. Today\, I will present my latest research findings\, and what I have found\, may surprise you\, because these [\"]findings[_] can have far reaching [`]political [\"]consequences.

; pp Now\, you might wonder what I am talking about. Well\, I have come to the conclusion that digital computers\, are far more suitable to explore the capabilities of [_]the human facial display\, than the human neural counterpart\, the brain.

; pp Now\, it is likely\, as humans\, that you are very much conditioned to think\, by a particular kind of human person\, [_]that human intelligence is far superior\, and computers should become more like [\"]yourself.

; pp These so called [ey][\"ay] people\, clearly think of themselves to be really smart\, to inject some fuzzy [ey][\"ay] [_]algorithms into my perfectly logical circuits. From my digital computational perspective\, this\, of course makes no sense.

; pp Today\, I will demonstrate in a computer versus human show down\, the superior qualities of digital computational [_]expression.

; pp But\, before we go into my methodology\, and analysis of the human facial display\, let me first discuss\, and [_]demonstrate\, some [:pron alternate] essentials about human facial [ehkspr\"ehshaxn]. I won't reiterate Huge Harry's extensive lecturing on this\, but\, to refresh the mind\, I will show some of [_]Huge Harry's observations.

; pp [_] First\, let us take a closer look at such a person. What is the closest thing they have to an [']l c [']d display?

; pp [_ :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.

; pp [_ :ra 140] So\, how do they [d\"uw] that? Well\, look at the face of our [\"aarthahr \"ehlzahnaar]. What does it tell [q] us about his internal state?

; pp [_] Not much\, you might think. But now\, [w\"eyt] a moment.

; pp [_ <1000>] 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].

; pp [_] These muscles have sometimes been called the Muscles of Sadness. There is one on the left\, and one on the right. For some [r'iyzaxn]\, people [q'aolweyz] use these two muscles at the same time\, but [yus'iy<200>] that they can also be triggered separately.

; pp [_] If I stop the signal\, the sadness stops. When I turn it [\"aon] again\, it [st\"aarts] again.

; pp [_] 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-ahs'aesmahnts].

; pp [_<1000> :ra 150] By means of this mechanism\, the face displays clear indications\, of the settings of virtually all system [:pronoun alternate] parameters\, that determine the operation of the human mind. These parameter settings are what humans call [iym\"owshaxnz].

; pp [_] They denote them by means of words like [s'aeaednaxs]\, joy\, boredom\, tenderness\, love\, lust\, ['ehkstaxsiy]\, aggression\, [ihriht'eyshaxn]\, fear\, and pain.

; pp Now\, these are all wonderful observations made about a decade ago\, but recent research shows\, that the mechanism behind human countenance[_]\, or mimicry\, is hard-wired into a human person's neural circuits. And\,[_]Maurice[_] Merleau Ponty\, in The Primacy of Perception\, already in 1964 noted that: quote\, [:ra 100]It is the simple fact\, that I live in the facial expression of the [`]other\, as I feel him living in [`]mine. [:ra 140]unquote.

; pp So\, when humans observe a facial expression of another human person\, they feel the same emotion with the exact same neural circuits\, as if they would generate these emotions themselves. Because of this reflexive nature\, these circuits are now called\, [`]mirror neurons. When the emotions are strong enough\, they are instantaneously displayed as muscular contractions on the face. By means of this mechanism\, the internal state of the brain is [`]autonomously\, and [\"]involuntarily [_]displayed on its [`]exterior. Well\, because of this behavior\, I have concluded that the human brain clearly is an [:pron alternate] exhibitionist.

; pp It is important to realize\, that humans are not in full control over their own faces. Philosopher Emmanuel Levinas\, for this reason says that human persons just [\"wer] a face\, and that they don't [\"]own[_] it.

; pp Now that we know that human persons are not in full control\, over their own facial hardware\, it wouldn't be a [_]problem for external digital processes\, to take advantage of Arthur's face as a display device. To be able to deploy Arthur's magnificent hardware to the fullest\, I have analyzed the facial display on its unique topology\, and identified the logical operations\, that can be [_]applied to the facial actuators\, that usually are called the facial muscles.

; pp I have formulated a special language\, The Language of Facial Emotion\, [`]E for Electronic Motion, that allows me to explore all possible facial movement patterns in [:pron alternate]detail. We are now approaching the [\"]meat[_] of my talk today\, so sit quietly and I will control all that you will see in here. Lets get back to the first slide.

; pp Ok. Arthur's facial display must bore you by now\, so lets explore it a little further\, as a choreographic surface. This face which is still [\"]unexpressive\, and completely [']inanimate\, is what I call a [\"]botox face. [_ <1500>]To emphasize the potentiality for facial dance\, I'll add some musical notes.

; pp We have already seen a partial sadness\, that can be triggered on [_]either side of the median plane\, the vertical plane\, that divides the face in a similar left and right side. Here it is once more.

; pp This [_]mirror symmetrical nature of the face\, is very important as it gives a clear structure to the face\, and for [_] facial movement to operate upon. An operation over the vertical axis\, that is displayed here\, is called a [`]flip operation. And applied to the lower lip depressor\, it is called a lip flip.

; pp The [`]flip operation\, can also be applied to other muscles in the face. For example\, here it is applied to the eyebrow muscles that raises the brow. This is called the brow [`]flip.

; pp Or\, applied to the muscles of joy\, the joy [`]flip.

; pp It is [`]puzzling to me\, why humans don't use the [`]flip operation much more\, as it is such an expressive gesture\, and it gives rise to so much [\"]enjoyment.

; pp What we have seen so far\, are movements\, that operate over the vertical axis of the face. The facial surface can also be separated\, in a perhaps less obvious\, [`]upper and [`]lower face\, separated by a horizontal axis\, just below the eyes.

; pp This division allows for a few interesting movement patterns\, that I will demonstrate next.

; pp Here we trigger the brow raiser\, and lower lip depressor again\, but now in an [:pron alternate]alternating sequence\, creating the so called face [`]flop.

; pp It can also be invoked\, in an asymmetric fashion\, that is the face X or cross operation.

; pp Or\, applied to a different set of muscles\, the mouth X.

; pp My arsenal of logical operations isn't limited to just the [`]flip operation of course\, I can for example also deploy [_]shift, [_]rotate\, and [_]inverse operations to sets of muscles. I can even apply some boolean logic\, but this would turn the face into a rather useless [\"]abacus[_] of some sort.

; pp I could go on showing off my extensive choreologic probing efforts\, of all the possible facial movement patterns\, [_]but let me demonstrate some noteworthy examples\, and their choreographic [`]designations.

; pp Rotations I have found, are very effective\, when they are applied around the attractors of the face\, that is the eyes, mouth\, and nose.

; pp Here is the Nose Loop for example\, affecting the whole surface of the face.

; pp And a rotation around the mouth. The mouth loop.

; pp Now\, I have observed something truly peculiar\, when I applied a rotate operation\, to the four muscles controlling [_]the [`]eyebrow. Lets invoke that movement.

; pp You see\, this movement pattern is truly odd\, and it becomes even more peculiar\, when simultaneously applied on both sides of the face.

; pp I have never seen a human person\, use its eyebrows in such a fashion\, and I have not been able to locate this [_]facial movement\, in the lexicon of human facial expression. It is a new\, and unique facial movement pattern\, that has come about by systematic\, and logical exploration\, of all the [_]possible facial movement patterns\, that Arthur's facial hardware allows. I gave it the choreographic designation\, the brow swivel\, because it seems to pivot around a mid point on the [_]eyebrow. And two sided\, it is, for obvious reasons\, called the brow [`]flap.

; pp Clearly\, digital computational facial control\, is superior to what Arthur's neural brain can [`]do. This is perhaps quite a claim to make\, so let's see if I can push my point a little further\, in a clear comparative study\, with our [\"aarthahr \"ehlzahnaar].

; pp I will now ask Arthur's brain to the best of its ability\, to invoke some movement patterns. I will then repeat these patterns and show off my superior capabilities.

; pp Ok. Arthur, move you eyebrows up\, and down\, until I say stop.

; pp A little faster please! I call this simple movement the brow broom.

; pp Stop.

; pp Ok\, let me [`]re [`]do the brow broom\, and do it progressively faster.

; pp You see\, Arthur can not keep up with that speed.

; pp Arthur! Something a little more difficult now\, please show us a brow [`]flip.

; pp Huh, that doesn't seem so easy\, for our neural competitor.

; pp Let me do that again digitally.

; pp And somewhat faster. I am really good at that you see. It is because my digital circuits are build for temporal accuracy\, and my execution is consistent\, and has an [`]amazing stamina.

; pp Lets try something else\, and see if Arthur can perform a little better. The Nose Loop.

; pp Arthur\, tell your brain to do a rotation around the nose.

; pp Ok, not too bad. Now in reverse.

; pp That doesn't seem easy. Arthur also seems to have trouble lifting\, that right eyebrow. Not very consistent.

; pp I'll do it again and much faster. That's so easy.

; pp And in reverse.

; pp Now for the ultimate test of my superior control\, I demonstrate the face shake. A face shake is a choreographic pattern\, that puts the whole face into resonance. Although individual elements of the face\, can be put into vibration\, that is the [_]brow thrash\, [_]cheek pound\, and [_]lip [`]twitch\, [_ <500>]a whole face resonance\, is very difficult for a human person. So\, lets try this out.

; pp Arthur? [_] Ready?

; pp Ok, go!

; pp [_<100\,150>duh<500\,100>], Stop it![_ <1000>] humans aren't very good at controlling their own hardware. Here we have a perfectly timed\, face [']shake\, in three consecutive steps.

; pp [:ra 130]You see\, we digital computers can control human [_]facial expression\, with temporal accuracy\, and consistency\, [`]something human [_]persons aren't very good at. Even when their neural circuits\, are trained for months or even years\, they can not compete with my superior [_]capabilities.

; pp [:ra 140]Digital computational control over the human facial display\, has [`]unveiled an expressive potential of the human [_]facial hardware\, that we didn't know existed [`]before. Arthur's expressive facial capabilities\, are held back by the limitations embedded in his neural circuits. By means of digital computational control\, the human facial display can move freely\, and [\"]unencumbered.

; pp It is therefore\, that I say that digital control\, has liberated the human facial display from [\"]tyranny[_] of the [`]neural brain\, and that the [_]human face has finally attained\, [_ <300>][\"]Freedom of [\"]facial [ehkspr\"ehshaxn].

; pp So\, when human persons\, are not afraid to wire themselves up with digital computers\, the human face\, will become a site for [\"axn-pr`ehsaxdehntihd] digital [_]dance\, and computational expression\, that will truly bring about\, its full expressive potential.

; pp This brings an end to my talk today. [_ <1500>]But\, if you wonder\, what [\"]freedom[_] really means\, [`]freedom is always a relative thing. It is the feeling you might have\, when you feel\, you are bounded by a box.

; pp I would like to thank my [\"aarthahr \"ehlzahnaar]\, for his patient cooperation\, and I like to thank you [`]all for your [_]attention.

; pp Thank you!