How To Build A Lie: Apocryphal Technologies Lecture Performance

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How To Build A Lie: Apocryphal Technologies Lecture Performance
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As part of the exhibition “How to Build a Lie”, Jamie Allen will give a lecture-performance on May 18th at Dateline. The talk will feature research materials from his time in Denver and a description and discussion of a set of ‘apocryphal technologies’: a psychological stress evaluator, a polygraph machine, a Scientology E-Meter, and a Golf Ball Finder.

Jamie Allen is an artist and Senior Researcher working with the Critical Media Lab in Basel, Switzerland, interested in how media structures arrange our lives.

Through his research into what he calls Apocryphal Technologies, which he will be investigating in a concurrent residency at Boulder’s Media Archaeology lab, Allen lays bare the ways in which technologies present themselves as the forward image of our desires, and these forward movements prevent us from sensing legitimate disappointment, direct malfunction, or frustrations of use. Techno-aesthetics always comprise an element of apocryphal benefit, but perhaps more markedly when in the service of cryptic offerings like truth verification, bodily enhancement, cognitive amplification, and communing with the dead. Often things that don’t work we simply make work with our imaginations, as we have often invested so much time, effort, emotion, belief or money in them. The imaginary or apocryphal technological justifies our attention and effort, technical or otherwise. This dimension of media and technology, here dubbed the ‘apocryphal’ is that which is dubiously authentic, just-believably reliable, but functionally suspect or without ground.

In particular, Allen's Lie Machine is a recreation of an early instrument for the processing of voice with Voice Stress Analysis algorithms. The highly contested vocal micro-tremors detection technique can be applied surreptitiously, even posthumously, to vast sources of live and recorded spoken audio.

“The Lie Machine” takes its title from a 1973 Playboy Magazine article of the same name, on the subject of a VSA-based instrument, “designed to fit into a Samsonite briefcase.” Most recently, the algorithm gained notoriety in the U.S. trial of George Zimmerman for the charge of the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman successfully passed a CVSA test (Computer Voice Stress Analysis), and was cleared of charges.
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