[-empyre-] "Hactivating" and the Screw-Up

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Sun Dec 13 12:51:26 EST 2009

Hi Sam -

Thanks for posting this, I didn't know about it. I'd love to see some  
screw-ups here, as I'm sure they are bound to happen.

The technology looks expected and routine, the pitch not so far from  
Coke's old "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." Unity through  

I'm sure the facial profiling will have as many problems as any, and  
will be as racially biased as any. The algorithms used for these  
things are still pretty flawed, to my understanding. There have been a  
slough of these facebook promotions based on self-portraiture, from  
making oneself into a Simpsons character to a Mad Men character. All  
of these involve the subjection of self-image to a database and an  
algorithmic gaze.

The more note-able aspect of this campaign to me is the couching of it  
as a "social experiment."

Clearly they must believe that such an approach will entice more  
people than if they had pitched it as a game, an artpiece, a way to  
meet people, etc.

What's the experiment thesis? What's the result? Connection by any  
data necessary.

We need to see some Facebook hacks.


On Dec 11, 2009, at 7:53 PM, sam-myspinach wrote:

> Hi there,
> I wonder if anyone can do some research and analysis on this - I am
> too frightened:
> http://www.cocacolazero.com/index.jsp#/facialprofiler/
> Thanks, Sam.
> On 10/12/2009, at 1:40 PM, Kevin Hamilton wrote:
>> Christina and all,
>> In any of the advertising for personal music devices or cell phones,
>> listeners experience private pleasure through the knowing smile, and
>> perhaps a look up and to the right.
>> This I would contrast to what actually happens when one reads or  
>> hears
>> something funny when in public. For example, me on the bus this
>> morning reading this line from Christina:
>> On Dec 9, 2009, at 1:15 AM, Christina McPhee wrote:
>>> The mistake is the beginning of the mutation.   "In the still cave  
>>> of
>>> the witch poesy... "
>> Laughing out loud amongst silent commuters, nervous about where to  
>> put
>> my smile and body.
>> I'm thinking about all this partly in light of some conversation over
>> on IDC right now, between Brian Holmes and myself, a few others. As  
>> an
>> instructor, I'm more and more aware of how my students arrive already
>> trained, configured into a cybernetic matrix. For many of them, their
>> senses are only sensors, ready to accept symbolic input for the
>> production of expected actions. (Hell, I'm not much better.) No
>> documentary is going to reveal the truth for them, there's no
>> narrative moment waiting for them. They need a new sensory  
>> experience,
>> to have they eyeballs and eardrums reconfigured in a non-programmatic
>> way.
>> The cyberneticist I've been researching, Heinz von Foerster, was a
>> magician. Literally. Back in the sixties and seventies he would do
>> magic tricks for the students as part of his lectures on
>> consciousness. I'm looking for some tricks like that, through the
>> linguistic and the visual.
>> Thus the word games. Searching for ways to use language that produce
>> transformation without resorting to instrumental manipulation.
>> A typology of wordsmiths, magicians of meaning...
>> Words that could mean anything but which make us all think we're
>> thinking the same thing.
>> [Sarah Palin]
>> Words that can mean two things, and everyone's in on the joke.
>> [Stephen Colbert]
>> [Bottom (from A Midsummer Night's Dream)]
>> Words that mean one thing to the speaker and a different thing to the
>> listener, but only the listener is in on the joke.
>> Words that can mean more than one thing and no one knows which one is
>> right, producing a plenitude of meaning.
>> [Stoppard? I don't know, this one is just thrilling though.]
>> One such overflow that just thrills me in this way is the piece "A
>> Letter to Queen Victoria: The Sundance Kid is Beautiful" by Robert
>> Wilson and Christopher Knowles.
>> http://ubu.artmob.ca/sound/dial_a_poem_poets/big_ego/Big_Ego_05-wilson.mp3
>> But I don't know much about it, and frankly I'm a little unsure about
>> the politics of how this autistic poet Knowles came to work with
>> Wilson. But there's some overflow here, some linguistic plenitude
>> through some mistakes and misapprehension.
>> Kevin
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