Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Aug 2007)

typed for your pleasure on 5 August 2007, at 9.57 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Black ants in sound-dust’ by Stereolab

So it’s recently come to my attention (via an alert reader) that there’s a rare iDollator making a name for herself in the media. Yes, not only is she female — and female Doll owners are as scarce as good Michael Bay films — but her Doll has an extremely distinctive look, as you’ll see below.

left, Amber; right, Amber

The Organik twin’s name is Amber Hawk Swanson, a video and performance artist from Chicago, and her Synthetik twin is named Amber Doll, appropriately enough. Not only did Organik Amber pony up $6000 to have a Hollywood special effects company make a laser-scanned silicone replica of her face for her RealDoll — the date of the scanning process coinciding with her birthdate, making them true twins — but the two of them were married (in matching rented dresses) on 26 January, in a small ceremony in Las Vegas. Apparently they have matching tattoos on their inner wrists as well — Amber Hawk’s reads ‘Bully’, while Amber Doll’s is ‘Prey’.
In their working relationship, Synthetik Amber will be a kind of a stand-in for Organik Amber:

I was looking for a receptacle for the onslaught of attention and negative feedback—a stand-in for myself… it was just the right amount of crazy to order a $12,000 doll.

Sounds like the best kind of crazy, if you ask me!…

Of course, the first thing I thought when I heard of them was hot Synthetik/Organik twin lesbian action. Heh, sorry. So the second thing that came to mind was that the Amber twins remind me of English artist duo Jemima & Dolly Brown, only the Organik Amber seems to be the dominant partner, as opposed to Jemima taking a backseat to Dolly’s ‘personality’ take centre stage. Organik Amber’s compiled a video that details, among other things, Synthetik Amber at Abyss creations and their wedding, called ‘To Have, To Hold, To Violate: The Making of Amber Doll’, which is obviously something that I must see.
It also brings to mind the age-old question, ‘if you have sex with a clone of yourself, is it actually masturbation?’ That’s one for the philosophers…

Alert reader (and relative of Edie Sedgwick) Maisie Sedgwick Deely Emailed me with a link to a story in the New York Times, entitled ‘The Real Transformers‘:

Sociable robots come equipped with the very abilities that humans have evolved to ease our interactions with one another: eye contact, gaze direction, turn-taking, shared attention. They are programmed to learn the way humans learn, by starting with a core of basic drives and abilities and adding to them as their physical and social experiences accrue. People respond to the robots’ social cues almost without thinking, and as a result the robots give the impression of being somehow, improbably, alive.

At the moment, no single robot can do very much. The competencies have been cobbled together: one robot is able to grab a soup can when you tell it to put it on a shelf; another will look you in the eye and make babbling noises in keeping with the inflection of your voice. One robot might be able to learn some new words; another can take the perspective of a human collaborator; still another can recognize itself in a mirror. Taken together, each small accomplishment brings the field closer to a time when a robot with true intelligence — and with perhaps other human qualities, too, like emotions and autonomy — is at least a theoretical possibility. If that possibility comes to pass, what then? Will these new robots be capable of what we recognize as learning? Of what we recognize as consciousness? Will it know that it is a robot and that you are not?
the entire article is here. Since it’s on the money-grubbing New York Times, you’ll have to log in to see the whole thing; in which case, you can either use my login — hope_u_like_it, password 123456 — or get round to and use another one

Quite an interesting read on the development and ramifications of sociable robots. One of my favourite bits in particular is

[Robot] Kismet’s responses to stimulation were so socially appropriate that some people found themselves thinking that the robot was actually feeling the emotions it was displaying. Breazeal realized how complicated it was to try to figure out what, or even whether, Kismet was feeling. “Robots are not human, but humans aren’t the only things that have emotions,” she said. “The question for robots is not, Will they ever have human emotions? Dogs don’t have human emotions, either, but we all agree they have genuine emotions. The question is, What are the emotions that are genuine for the robot?”

And finally, for those of you who have been wanting to see Nicholas Rucka of Maboroshii Production’s short film ‘RealDoll Doctor’ ever since I mentioned it nigh on two months ago, he says on his blog that it’s apparently been on since July. So get round there and see for yourself! It’s definitely worth viewing, so you have no excuse

Technorati tags: Amber Hawk Swanson, Jemima and Dolly Brown, performance art, Abyss creations, RealDoll, sociable robots, documentary

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Surrogates; or, Bruce Willis' hair has never looked so good on October 16th, 2009

Art imitating life imitating art on April 6th, 2008

5 have spoken to “Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Aug 2007)”

  1. SafeTinspector writes:

    ‘if you have sex with a clone of yourself, is it actually masturbation?’
    You would need to ask a set of incestuous identical twins. From a genetic standpoint, that would be clone fuckin’.

    I’m not so sure about marrying anything that is not sentient and can’t marry you back, but as an intriguing stunt its interesting.

  2. Mahtek writes:

    She’s a pretty girl, and she makes for one hot doll!

    This is the first time I’ve heard a RD owner say that they intend to be abusive tword their doll. And a clone of herself besides. I won’t try to figure that out.

    And why is she considering destroying it when the “project” is done? She payed $12000 for a portrait in silicone of herself and she’s going to destroy it? “I’ll commission and artist to do a portrait of me in oil on canvas. Then I’ll slash it with a razor!” It just makes no sense.

    Oh well, I’m sure the film will be interesting, and as she’s an artist, I can’t pass any judgement until I see her work. I just hope it doesn’t paint a bad picture of doll owners.

  3. Davecat writes:

    Personally, I’ve always wanted to get Sweetie blessed in a Shintoist ceremony — as you know, they believe that everything has a spirit, whether it’s Organik or Synthetik, animate or inanimate, etc. If I could find a Shinto temple to do it, I’d get it done. Reportedly, not only would the JSDF have their fighter planes consecrated, but when Orient industry receives Dolls that are no longer needed, they have a ceremony to properly consecrate their souls. Yes, Japan thinks of everything.

    Mahtek –
    Yeah, I can’t truly fathom why she would willingly destroy such a beautiful, unique and expensive work of art, but that’s artists for ya. Maybe in time, Organik Amber will consider Synthetik Amber worth keeping. At the very least, yeah; she should definitely keep her face.

    Perhaps I’ll hunt down her Email, and attempt to find out the whys and wherefores…

  4. Jim Mirkalami writes:

    I have been visiting this site a lot lately, so i thought it is a good idea to show my appreciation with a comment.

    Jim Mirkalami

    PS: I am a single dad 😉

  5. Davecat writes:

    Jim Mirkalami –
    Glad to hear from you! It’s a good job you dig ‘Shouting etc etc’ as well, otherwise it’d just be silly for you to be spending so much time here. 🙂

    Stick around, if you so desire! Things should start picking up! At least, that’s the plan…

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