Morph for Macintosh
a 'two dimensional spatially-warped crossfade programme'
The Morph program provides (a reproduction of) a black boy and a white girl with the instructions. A smile plays about the faces of Ron and Saundra, as we soon dubbed them; one smiles back and wonders what it is they want from one. It quickly becomes apparent that they are waiting for interventions that will encroach upon their beauty. Subsequently, they are digitally molested, assaulted and raped by objects, symbols and human forms to one's heart's content. The amusement value is unmistakable. But there is more.
Ron and Saundra represent the dream of a new society: arrange their portraits in a series and before you know it, you've forced them into a mutually penetrating form that they did not select and have nothing to do with. And thus the image suddenly appears: the twentieth century Rodin's Kiss, realised in the bloodless kiss of Ron and Saundra. Suddenly the new esthetics appears: sterile, seamless and gruesome. When we have finished goggling at the idea of genetic manipulations shown in Michael Jackson's Morphed video from Black and White, in which the sweetness of the ladies and gentlemen covered the cruelty of the manipulation (and at a less bourgeois form of the same thing in Terminator II), we can get started ourselves with Morph on our personal computers. It is not enough to effect a deformity with a program like PhotoShop, we want to see it performed step by step, with great precision, in front of our eyes.
Ron and Saundra's question is clear: how far do you dare to go with us? We offer you our faces, do what you want with them, may the gleam in our eyes accompany you. We are the first step in a series of interventions you can carry out on us. That is what we are here for, but not what we are responsible for.
The observant Mediamatic reader will have noticed already: these models came to a bad end. Minimalized, recognizable only to the precision-observer, they function as a logo in the picture that recurs on every page. Their morphology adapted to the shameless fantasy of the designer who, after the fairy-tale like approach of the first generation of computer users, has displayed a surgical bent. Leaving behind the soft romanticism of the original Ron and Saundra, the abstract-binary phases of the morph are portrayed, creating a pornographic gruesomeness. A gruesomeness completely hidden in Black and White by smile, song and angel hair.
A gruesomeness misinterpreted in Terminator II as the suspense of the film
These are the experiments in virtual reality that we would rather not imagine. These are the evil dreams of a new, manipulated reality in which not the romanticism of a new world order, but everyday cruelty reigns.
Morphing, Plastic Surgery, Genetic Manipulation, Virtual Reality, SmartDrugs. The adaptations and improvements are accomplished more and more seamlessly. Unnoticed. Our great grandchildren will no longer even notice when they've been raped.
translation JIM BOEKBINDER