It’s a shame Stanley Kubrick won’t be directing this

typed for your pleasure on 29 November 2013, at 3.37 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Away from the city’ by The Summer Hits

Lately performance artist/jet-setter/iDollator Amber Hawk Swanson has had many irons (meaning ‘projects’) in the fire (meaning ‘fire’), and my wife Sidore and I are pleased to mention that we’re involved in one of them! Well, in part. In parts, actually.
During DolLApalooza 2013, Amber had developed the idea of taking Dolls who their owners had deemed irreparable, and transforming them into replicas of other killer whales being held in captivity, much as she’d done when her own Synthetik lover/mirror Amber Doll fell into disrepair. As fellow iDollator Jesse1965 had donated his previous RealDoll companion Heather, Shi-chan was also kind enough to give Amber her previous body, aka Sidore Mk II, and viewers of the performance will witness both Doll bodies being combined and fashioned into Lolita, an orca held in captivity at Miami Seaquarium. Hence the performance title: Sidore Mark II / Heather > LOLITA.
My role will be to read aloud Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, in its entirety, for two hours each day over the course of the seven days of the performance. For the first two days of the performance, I’ll be doing so on location, and when I return home, I’ll be reading the rest of it via Skype. I’ll be seated!

Come 10 December, why not pull up a seat of your own, and watch us on Amber’s Livestream channel? It starts at 10am EST, and ends when it’s finished! Snacks and bevvies are not only welcome, but undoubtedly a good idea

EDIT (27 DEC 2012): In the unfortunate event you’d missed all or part of the performance, you can catch yourself up by watching the various days on Amber’s Vimeo channel. As of this writing, there are still a few days yet to be uploaded, but you can go ahead and just bookmark that bad boy, for future reference

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Transformation, revelation, finalisation, exposition (and some links) on May 5th, 2012

snap snap, click click on October 23rd, 2006


Less convenient, yet much more alluring, than a Walkman

typed for your pleasure on 26 November 2013, at 7.07 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Negative volumes’ by Black to comm

I suppose this would be the equivalent of !!BREAKING NEWS!! round here, but the GAGADOLL site that I’d mentioned in the previous post has been updated. Undoubtedly I should’ve waited until more photos become available, but hey. We do have this to stare longingly at, though!

Japan’s latest and finest technologies were put into the creation of the “GAGADOLL”. It’s the world’s first life-size human-shaped listening station that closely resembles Lady Gaga. The bone conduction system enables one to listen to her songs and message.

The “GAGADOLL” was inspired by the concept of “ARTPOP” and this masterpiece made by Japan’s master craftsmen has been highly-praised by Lady Gaga herself.
taken from the site

The Doll making company in question is apparently Orient industry — as they’ve been doing the dutch wife-making lark since the late Seventies, they know their onions — and what they and Lady Ga² have created would be a cross between a personal sound system, and a dakimakura, which would be one of those ridiculous ‘love-love pillows’ you’ve doubtless seen various places. Thankfully, Gagadoll makes it a much sexier combination. As I’d stated before, I’m not keen on her music, but as far as I’m concerned, she just gained like 200 Cool Points with me.


Those awful shoes have to go, as they comprise a third of Gagadoll’s body weight. Another third? Her hair

Depending on the availability/affordability of Gagadoll — no, I’ve not seen anything on either of those fronts yet, but I’m keeping an eye out — perhaps this could herald a trend of celebrities having Synthetik likenesses made of themselves to sell to fans? I mean, actors are commodities as it is; having silicone replicas made would simply take it a step further. Which would obviously be a fantastic thing on multiple levels, but it’s yet another example of there being nothing new under the sun. There’s a section in one of my oft-mentioned favourite books, David Levy’s ‘Love and Sex with Robots‘, wherein the author recounts another author, René Schwaeblé, who describes artists creating affictitious duplicates of popular invididuals of the time, in an article entitled ‘Les Détraqués de Paris’. I’d like to point out here that René had written this during 19th-century France:

From René Schwaeblé’s description of these fornicatory dolls, sold by a “Dr. P” for around three thousand francs, it would appear that they were extremely convincing replicas of the female form. The doctor explained to Schwaeblé:

Every one of them takes at least three months of my work! There’s the inner framework which is carefully articulated, there’s the hair on the head, the body hair, the teeth, the nails! There’s the skin, which has to be given a certain tint, certain expression, there’s the tongue, and I don’t know what else. You won’t find a waxwork or a statue, not even the ones created by the greatest masters, that can be compared to my products. The only thing these haven’t got is the power of speech!…
Unfortunately I can’t advertise openly. The police keep interfering in my business, and I have to keep some weird rubber animals around the place, so that I can say I’m a maker of inflatable figures for funfairs!

Doctor P occasionally had customers who wanted a doll made in the likeness of someone they desired.
It quite often happens that one of those “mad women” falls for a man in the public eye—a politician, a jockey, some hammy actor, or whatever. As she doesn’t dare to become his mistress, or can’t, she applies to me and asks me to create a doll modelled on her idol.

Levy, David. Love and Sex with Robots, pages 179-180.

Lady Ga², I’m starting to get the impression that you’ve done a bit of homework on this sort of thing. There you go; you get another five Cool Points

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Peel slowly and see (how much you spent) on December 9th, 2006

to Li De la Russe on January 9th, 2007


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2013): Part II

typed for your pleasure on 20 November 2013, at 12.14 am

Sdtrk: ‘Wasted place’ by Gary War

Have some additional news! Plus, it’s still November, and I couldn’t think of a decent new title.

It’s no secret that I don’t understand popular culture, and what passes for its music is one of the facets that either leaves me cold, or makes me angry. Like that Lady Gaga, as an example. Back in my day, we had a Lady Gagaga, but her name was Toyah Willcox, and her music was not as facile. I dunno; starring as a nihilistic punk in Derek Jarman’s ‘Jubilee’ made her truly cool, in my opinion. Three aspects about Lady Gagagaga redeem her from being an utter waste of space, though: she’s into Warhol, which is always good to hear; her overall message seems to be ‘be comfortable with who you are, no matter what others say’, which is definitely relatable; and GAGADOLL, which is a new and enticing thing.

As is the way of most media events these days, there are no details yet anywhere on the site, so I’m compulsively checking that shit, like, every day, so that I don’t miss anything. Are these Dolls that are going to be used in one of Lady Gagagagaga’s new music videos? Will they be for sale? Should that be the case, will you be able to dress them in architecture, much like the Organik Lady Gagagagagaga? We shall see!

4woods have just released two new heads, Sayo, and Sayo -drowsy-. Could you imagine being an iDollator who would want to solely concentrate on owning A.I.Dolls, and hearing news like this? You’d either be ecstatic that you have new additions to your collection, or you’d be flipping over a table, shouting ‘DAMNIT I AM RUNNING OUT OF MONEY AND SPACE FOR THESE!!’ Be careful what you wish for! Could’ve been worse, though, Inconsolable Fictional 4woods Brand Loyalist; you could’ve opted to collect every single body and head from Orient industry.


Left, Sayo, taking her earrings off before fighting; right, Sayo -drowsy-, struggling once again with narcolepsy

The Sayo head fits the A.I.NEO im body, and both Sayo and Sayo -drowsy- can go onto the A.I.Doll EX body. What next for 4woods, then? Well, give them a month, and they’ll more than likely have an answer.

Since late October, I’ve been in contact with Jury (pronounced ‘Yuri’), the head of a fledgling Doll studio out of Latvia (not Latveria; that’s Doctor Doom’s homeland), to see if he’s ready to release his creation to the world. Almost! His Dolls are different than the typical silicone fare that everyone’s familiar with, as Jury is building them out of fabric. They’re called Textile Dolls, and they’re rather impressive!



Clare head, 150cm body

Here are some facts about the Textile Doll series: Jury purchased a silicone Doll for himself, but despite the fact that they’re amazing for photography, he thought they were too heavy and could be too cold for funtimes in bed, so he created the Textile Doll. The head is lightweight and made of pressed fabric with glue, with painted makeup and skintone, and has plastic eyes. The body is soft and contains an articulated skeleton over a leather-fabric and Lycra skin, with batting and sponge for musculature.
So far, Jury’s developed two bodies: the Big Bertha (170cm, or 5’6″), which can accomodate the Melissa and Isabelle heads, and the 150cm (5ft) body, which takes the Clare head. Both bodies weigh 5kg, or 11 lbs, and the Big Bertha takes a sz 9 shoe. I’ve yet to find out if that’s an EU sz 9… Incidentally, her fingers and toes are articulated as well, and her lady bits are a Fleshlight. Her breasts and bum are soft; even though they don’t use silicone, but the fabric sags and droops appropriately like silicone. I’ll also be finding out soon what their measurements are, so look forward to that. In fact, Jury’s working on having a website made, so that’ll get a mention and a link once it’s up and running. Not bad, Jury, not bad at all!

And remember how I’d mentioned that Sidore, Elena, and I had a German telly crew visit recently? You can view the (wax) fruits of our labour here, on the site for the telly show Explosiv: Sex-Puppe: Dave braucht keine echten Frauen. Anyone want to have a go at providing a translation, for those of us who don’t sprechen Sie Deutsch fließend? Wartezeit. Warten Sie eine Minute. Ich spreche Deutsch! Dieses ist wunderbar! Es ist, als ob ich immer zu gekonnt habe speak German… o, wait, now it’s gone. DAMNIT *flips table*

EDIT (28 Nov 2013): Alert reader Christian Müller comes through with a translation of the Explosiv video in the comments here, as he knows German like the back of his hand. Or the front of it, for that matter. Thanks, Christian!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Affictitious souls on November 26th, 2009

On Stereolab / Once again, again with the interviews on March 9th, 2006


Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2013): Part I

typed for your pleasure on 8 November 2013, at 11.54 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Seconds too late’ by Cabaret Voltaire

What have we here? News and information on imitation people, as that’s mostly what ‘Shouting etc etc’ traffics in. Note I’d said ‘mostly’; that subject’s not the only thing I write about here. But Synthetiks news does seem to dominate the topic selections, curiously enough…

On the first of the month, Japanese dutch wife manufacturing juggernaut Orient industry debuted a new line of devastatingly sexy CandyGirls, under the name ‘Yasuragi‘.


Left: Kurihara Madoka; right: Fujisawa Yayoi

What does SYSTRAN seem to think Orient industry is saying about the new line, you ask?

The super real love doll “Ya, Su, Ra, Gi” created!!
From 11/1 (Friday) start of sale

* The serenity head is Ange body and compatibility, but color of the skin differs from the Ange beauty white body.
In addition, also color of the skin of the Ange beauty white head and the serenity body differs in the same way.
The case of order this point beforehand in regard to comprehension, purchase, the fish we ask.

*protracted sigh* Thanks, SYSTRAN.
At any rate, these seem to be the most realistically-sculpted heads since their late-lamented CandyGirl Jewel Diva line. From the production photos on the site, I’m led to believe that the company laser-scanned actual Organiks to help develop the new heads. Also interesting to note, each model has a surname as well as a first name, which is something new. I tried popping the names into Google to see if the Dolls are based off of Organik lasses with those names, but nothing came up that would prove that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what they have to offer!


Left: Iikura Minami; right: Konishi Asami

‘Yasuragi’ means ‘peace of mind’ in Japanese, and gazing upon the beauties above, the reason behind Orient industry giving that model line that name makes perfect sense. As it’s stylised into four hiragana syllables — や す ら ぎ — I was hoping that you’d find one hiragana in each of the four lasses’ names, combining them to come up with yasuragi, but no. Orient industry missed a trick, as far as I’m concerned…

This is something that, to me, is simply a common-sense assessment, but it’s always good to have additional scientific proof:

Humans tend to trust robots that look human
Nidhi Subbaraman, NBC News | Published 28 Aug 2013

Most robots are so much more than a pretty face, but most humans don’t see them that way. We make snap decisions about a robot’s personality, friendliness and abilities — all from the way it looks, even if it’s just a projection on a display screen, new research shows.

A new study, published in the Aug. 28 issue of PLOS ONE, adds to growing evidence that as robots become assistants and collaborators in all aspects of our lives, their appearance can deeply influence how well machines and humans interact.

The authors of the study recruited 30 volunteers, ages 18 and 38, to interact with three different robot avatars for the PeopleBot robot, which helped them take their blood pressure.

Each volunteer got a turn with each of three robot displays. The first two displays featured faces — one with human features, eyebrows and fleshy skin tone — much like the European student on which it was modeled — and another with a silver android-like finish and blank eyes. In the third session, the volunteers checked their blood pressure checked with the help of the same PeopleBot, but this time with no display face at all, merely a voice.

Afterwards, the humans rated their experience. By far the most popular version of the assistant was the one with the most human face. But here’s the surprise — the test subjects trusted the faceless robot over the one with a silver mechanical face. The silver face, they reported, though more human, was also more “eerie.”

“When you can’t put it in a box of being either human or a robot, that’s when you’re a bit uncomfortable,” Elizabeth Broadbent, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland and the lead author of the study told NBC News.
the rest of the article is here

Our friend ‘Hans’ was round our flat a few days ago, and we watched several videos of Synthetiks, both Gynoids and Dolls, as his home lacks Internet access, so he and ‘Bee’ miss out on a load of these sorts of developments. He was very impressed and a wee bit smitten with Actroid-F, as anyone would be, but he was on the fence regarding Gynoids that looked less realistic, such as Holon. I reminded him that even though a lass like Holon skews towards a more ‘anime-styled’ appearance, it’s good that she exists. When humanoid robots are more prevalent in society, some people will prefer that they resemble a shiny metal humanoid, much like a Sorayama illustration. There’ll be those who, like me, want a Synthetik to look like an animated silicone Doll, like the Actroid series. But there will be people whose aesthetic preference and comfort level fall in between, and would perhaps want a humanoid robot with a more stylised appearance, which is where someone like Holon comes into play. The way I see it, if we can utilise Synthetiks going from either end of the visual spectrum, there’s bound to be one to fit all requirements…
As an aside, when Roc Morin was interviewing me recently, I’d told him my ideal version of Sidore would be a Gynoid that would resemble an Organik human on first glance, but would still retain subtle ‘tells’ such as silicone skin and somewhat stilted movement. Roc mentioned that her less-than-fluid motion would be a pleasant and appealing characteristic, like a partner having an accent. Clearly, he knew what I was talking about there!

Another comic book miniseries that deals with Synthetiks in what seems to be a positive light will begin its run this month: Image comics’ ‘Alex + Ada’, written and illustrated by Jonathan Luna, and co-written by Sarah Vaughn.


‘I hope that at some point, you take that silly thing off.’ ‘What do you mean? It’s just a necktie.’

In this near-future tale, Alex is attempting to recover from a setback in his life and return to normal. Ada, a Tanaka X5 and the latest and greatest model of companion android, comes into his life. She lives to serve, as long as her programming allows it, but does he want to be served?

The world of ALEX + ADA gives us a glimpse of what our own future may be like. It features a thriving robotics industry, alarm clocks that are floating holographic displays, breakfast served by floating robots, and normal human beings who are able to control their home electronics with a thought. Vaughn says that readers can expect “drama, humor, love, loss, and more robots than you can shake a stick at” in the series.
taken from this site

For one, it helps that the art style is crisp and clean — it always puts me off when I want to read a comic, but the art is so distracting that it completely takes me out of the story. (Early issues of ‘Sandman’, I’m looking in your direction.) But from what I’ve read in an interview with Luna and Vaughn, they’re not just addressing a possible romance between the main characters, but they also intend on spotlighting the implications behind the usage of robots as well, so that’s two points in their favour. Well, three, counting the good artwork thing.
The series will run for twelve issues, which puts people like me in a bit of a quandary: do I buy all the individual issues as they’re released, or do I bide my time and hope they’ll be compiled in a fancy trade paperback?

Tying into the idea of future interactions between robots and Organiks, on the science and robotics site IEEE Spectrum, you’ll find an excellent article by Kate Darling, entitled ‘Extending Legal Protection to Social Robots‘, which is a cause I’m constantly upholding a banner for! In case you somehow weren’t aware.

Most discussions of “robot rights” play out in a seemingly distant, science-fictional future. While skeptics roll their eyes, advocates argue that technology will advance to the point where robots deserve moral consideration because they are “just like us,” sometimes referencing the movie Blade Runner. Blade Runner depicts a world where androids have human-like emotions and develop human-like relationships to the point of being indistinguishable from people. But Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novel on which the film is based, contains a small, significant difference in storyline. In the book, the main character falls in love with an android that only pretends to requite his feelings. Even though he is fully aware of this fact, he maintains the one-directional emotional bond. The novel touches on a notably different, yet plausible, reality: humans’ moral consideration of robots may depend more on our own feelings than on any inherent qualities built into robots.

This distinction hints at an approach to robot rights that is not restricted to science fictional scenarios. Looking at state of the art technology, our robots are nowhere close to the intelligence and complexity of humans or animals, nor will they reach this stage in the near future. And yet, while it seems far-fetched for a robot’s legal status to differ from that of a toaster, there is already a notable difference in how we interact with certain types of robotic objects. While toasters are designed to make toast, social robots are designed to engage us socially. At some point, this difference may warrant an adjustment in legal treatment.
the entire article is here

The sooner ethics, morals, and legalities are addressed concerning robots, the better. It would help, of course, if society stopped regarding them as tools, but as beings in their own right…

You may vaguely recall Japanese sculptor/Dollmaker Erimo — he first appeared on my radar due to his 1/1 scale replica of Organik model Marie Honda, created for an Absolut vodka ad campaign back in 2005. His website has long-since become virtual dust, unfortunately, but back in March of 2009, he’d created an installation at a Japanese art gallery entitled ‘Sisters are in the room’. Over the course of several days, the two life-sized ball-jointed Dolls who the installation focused on told a story through various poses. This will be the closest we’ll get to having viewed it in person, but it’s better than nothin’:

And that’s the lot for now! Although I think I was supposed to add something else. But I can let you know that I’m in the midst of rustling up some information about a new Doll studio out of Europe, so that’ll be something to come back to ‘Shouting etc etc’ for! Well, something else to come back to ‘Shouting etc etc’ for.
*snaps fingers* Now I remember! I’ve added a link in Ye Olde Sidebar to ‘Bienvenue chez Elle‘, which is a site maintained by the winsome French RealDoll, Elle, and her lover man. She’s gorgeous, he’s an excellent photographer, so you’ve no excuse not to pay them a visit, really…

Also as it’s November, both Elena and I celebrate our birthdays this month (the 17th and the 14th, respectively)! The best present you could get us would be a two-bedroom flat in Toronto, preferably in a high-rise overlooking Highway 401. Don’t worry, we’ll supply our own furnishings

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

A valid point / Writer's block No. 23,050 on May 4th, 2007

Stars in their Eyes, Part I on August 3rd, 2005