Ah. Context. These two need it.

It was the last third of the 1990's and we, as a culture, thought technology could solve everything and make us all wildy rich and sexy in the process. So a group (start up addicts) of us were sitting around at the Driskill Hotel Bar drinking Vodka martinis and doing calamari shots when one of our potential investment angels starting talking about behavior problems he was having with his teenage, and just barely adult, children. Finally, we had something we could sink our teeth into.  We quickly ginned up a proposal for a behavior modification device that could be remotely controlled with the then nascent Bluetooth technology to modify the behavior of children and convicted criminals and we sold the concept hard to former savings and loan investors and self-make real estate millionaires. Many decks of PowerPain slides...  In no time we had millions and millions of dollars in joint venture capital which we proceeded to blaze through by buying vintage Lancia Beta Scorpions and small planes (for corporate travel) as well as renting offices decorated with rare, white tiger pelt throw rugs and ancient growth mahagony paneling.  Our administrative assistants (all former models) were legend.

We had a bullpen of psychiatrists, behavior specialists and electrical engineers and we stocked their areas with pool tables, pin ball machines, original Star Trek uniforms and a scale model of the Millenium Falcon.  We also had a 24 hour buffet complete with a sushi fountain and a chocolate mountain.  Many people still fondly recall Dimitri, the bartender. God! he could make a Whiskey Sour that would make you cry...

We were getting near the end of our funds when we had a breakthrough. Electrical stimulations in certain delta patterns, enhanced by painful electromotive feedback could, in fact, modify (short term)  the behavior of our test subjects.  We moved final testing overseas to a break away republic of Switzerland to avoid the heavy hand of the FDA and local Child Protective Services restraints on free trade, and testing on minors, and launched a full series of human tests.

Well....the idea was golden but the execution was a bit more like aluminum foil. A few of the test subjects will never be able to make change, much less get into Harvard but, dammit, we tried. Nevertheless the whole enterprise crumpled like a tinfoil hat.

The above images were made for a campaign that never ran. The copy was vague and lyrical.  Something like: "The essence of happiness is obedience. Control your family's happiness wirelessly."  And, "brainwaves even a warden could love..."

In the end we thought it best to divvy up the remaining funds and call the project a failure. But as any entrepreneur will tell you, failure is the prelude to astronomical success. Thank goodness for the liability shields offered by our corporate entity. Corporations may be people but in this case ours was the brick wall between us and prison.  People can be so touchy about long term negative results...

In the end the military bought our technology at the bankruptcy auction and they've soldiered on trying to make it work.  In fact, I think much of Halo depends on our ground breaking research. Too bad the FDA won't let them use the helmet and electrodes that go with the game.....

The images (above) were the result of a committee's choice of both model and the "moody" countenance of the model. I shot them with a Hasselblad camera and a 120 Makro lens (they really do spell it with a "k") on some groovy black and white film.

After years of litigation the feds and other "injured parties" finally threw in the prosecutorial towel and walked away. They'd become aware that we "pierced the corporate veil" long before they had and moved most of the remaining cash and snow leopard throw rugs and Air Hockey tables off shore to create more opportunity for someone.  And that's the context for these two images.

(Actually, none of this is true. Except for the info about the camera and film. I was just bored waiting for Lightroom to process 40 gigabytes of images and my hands wandered to the keyboard just about the time my brain wandered off altogether. Lou and I did these images as a joke many years ago  Now my other files are done and so is my little flight of fancy.)

Restated Humor Alert:  The article is not true. It is made up. That means it's fiction. Not real.


Aurèle B said...


I was almost believing it during the first 8 lines :D

Altough it was really entertaining and fun !

Seems that the "Kenneth comment" did really touch you in fact ...

I enjoy every post of this (very good) blog, either for the pictures or the words or comments.

Cheers !

Jim said...

Oh but it must be true because it's on the Internet and you're only claiming it isn't because now that the military is developing it, it is top secret.

Brian F Wilkie said...

I could have sworn that was taken when you came in to Motorola to do a headshot of me. At the time I was running a microCONTROLLER division. You noticed how we had enhanced our admins with bluetooth ;-)

kirk tuck said...

Brian, So good to see your name here! But I thought I signed some sort of NDA that forbade me from mentioning our little experiments with admin mind control..... I remember the training so well. Hope you are having more fun than a pack of boy scouts at the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader camp.

Brian F Wilkie said...

You got it wrong, the admins were controlling us! And yes I am having fun, but not quite that much!!