jamie allen
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Suitcase, computer, speaker, Voice Stress Analysis software, autobiographical read-by-the author politician audiobooks (Palin, Obama, Clinton, Bush, etc.)

The 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 archive chosen for this analysis is a set of audiobook autobiographies, each read by its author: Decision Points by George W. Bush, Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin, A Journey: My Political Life by Tony Blair, My Life by Bill Clinton, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama. “The Lie Machine” title is taken 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.” The algorithm gained notoriety recently 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.

“How to Build a Lie”, a lecture/video by Jamie Allen and Moritz Greiner-Petter, is the final part of an apocryphal technologies artistic research project into media objects and technologies associated with “lie detection” and “truth verification”. Video materials were culled from various online sources, including The Old Typewriter, Die Wiege des Kinos and Der Mensch als Industriepalast, also amongst others. 

The arc of related research includes a physical recreation of a voice stress analysis machine that analyses the self-read audiobook versions of presidential autobiographies, The Lie Machine (2014); a residency with the Media Archeology Lab in Denver, Colorado; a thematic exhibition at Dateline gallery; a publication with Counterpath Press on which this lecture/video is based. Texts contains excerpts of writing by Ursula Le Guin, Avital Ronell, Paul Feyerabend, Geoff Bunn, Charles Darwin, amongst others. 

Partners: LEAP, Tuk Bredsdorff, Samo Tadin, Moritz Greiner-Peter, Dateline galleryArchaeologies of Media and Technology Research groupMedia Archeology LabCritical Media Lab Basel

Links: ImagesResearch Dossier, George Zimmerman CVSA AnalysisBerlin Art Link, This Is TomorrowInvisible Threads NYUAD“How to Build a Lie” (lecture/video)


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