MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still. (Click on image or caption to view Video)

Swedish Secrets Presents, the Story of the Origins of the Telephone

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.

MK12, TELEPHONEME, 2010, Animation still.


Released August 18, 2010

"There are several accounts of the events outlined below, but it is generally accepted that the version presented here is the most accurate and detailed sequence."

— MK12

For many years, it has been suspected that the alphabet — or, more specifically, phonemes — contain certain "trigger" sounds and characters with embedded messages designed to manipulate a recipient's subconscious thought patterns. This discovery was first made at the Voice Research Laboratory (VRL), an independent phonetic awareness bureau, during routine experiments on letters often considered benign: N, K, and S, for example.

VRL discovered that when combined, these and other charactrs produced a distinct phonetic resonance inthebrain that elicited a specific, deliberate response from the recipient. For example, the phrase NEVER KILL A SNAKE WITH YOUR BARE HANDS — while seemingly innocuous and perhaps even informative in nature — contained a subcognitive phonetic stimulant designed to evoke a sense of euphoria and lethargic complacency in the recipient, making them receptive to more substantial phoneto-cerebral manipulation at a later date.

VRL has defined this and other phrases as Class-A Trojan Carriers: carefully-assembled masthead statements that exploit the neuro-pathways of the brain to allow clear passage of third-party information and instruction. But to what end? And by whom?

Further investigation revealed that the impact of these "trojan expressions" was greatly amplified by the use of modern-day electronic devices, namely the telephone. This led scientists to conclude that vast machine-conspiracy was at work — an outright hijacking of our social fabric by the very devices we use to facilitate our day-to-day communication. A viral, linguistic weapon disguised as a common household appliance, secretly embedding anterior motive into otherwise-innocuous conversations between friends, lovers, even family. And while the nature and ultimate impact of this consjpiracy is unkown, detecting it origin and neutralizing its impace have become top priority for scientists and linguists around the world.

The Voice Research Laboratory has collaborated with Swedish Secrets Productions to produce this colorful, geometric televideo as a means to inform the public of the known facts about this linguistic conspiracy. It contains helpful charts and diagrams, never-before-seen footage and accurate historic and scientific context to assist the viewer in drawing his or her own conclusions. It is two minutes and forty-five seconds long, and is most likely both entertaining and informative.

The film demands discussion after viewing.

TELEPHONEME is a hybrid live-action/animated iece about language working as a double agent, carrying a hidden meaning with it for reasons yet-unknown.

The film came about after MK12, a design and film collective, discovered an education film from the 1960s, titled THE ALPHABET CONSPIRACY.In it, a young girl named Alice boycotts her homework and falls asleep, traveling to an enchanted world where she conspires with a Mad Hatter-type to eliminate books and words (hence, no homework). They're intercepted by Dr. Research, a kind-hearted linguist who convinces Alice that the alphabet really does matter. She then wakes up and does her homework, only now for the good of humanity.

The collective borrowed the soundtrack from the original film and remixed it into a slightly darker version of itself, which became the foundation for the piece. From there MK12 developed an animatic and began working in the key elements, letting the natural flow of the appropriated voice track dictate the visual sequence of events.

TELEPHONEME takes its visual cues from THE ALPHABET CONSPIRACY as well as other educational films of days past. Inspired by the awkward editing and absurd premises that so often defined the genre. The color palette is simple and deliberate. The collective also developed a technique in which all the elements were split out into their respective red, green, and blue channels (similar to how a printer makes several passes of pure color to construct a realistic color image). These channels mostly remain superimposed throughout the film, but they sometimes move independently of one another, creating interesting transitional and graphic effects.

Because this is a film about the alphabet from a scientific perspective, MK12 spent a good deal of time developing a typeface that was technically pervect and balanced. The artists were less concerned with making an aesthetically pleasing font as it was with ensuring that every measurement was a reciprocal of every othr character in the typeface. MK12 also developed a rigid set of rules for how the type was to be set and presented on screen, making sure that exponents and weights were always carefully considered. It's not something that's likely to be noticed on the first viewing, but it felt appropriate to the subject matter and also provided the collective with a visual foundation upon which to build.

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, MK12 has won acclaim in both commercial and artistic arenas. Founded in 2000 by art shool refugees Jed Carter, Tim fisher, Matt Fraction, and Ben Radatz, and lat4er goined by designer / composer Shaun Hamontree and Chad Perry, the collective's work constantly challenges the bounfdaries between narrative structure and experimental storytelling via juxtapositions of live action, graphic design, nostalgic influences and new technologies. MK12 has been sought after to direct numerous commercial and network-based projects and has been involved with several game promotions and cinematics, most recently for Harmonix's Beatles and Green Day Rock Band entries as well as Microsoft's flagship game Alan Wake. The collective has also provied title sequence design and in-film graphic FX for feature films such a Stranger than Fiction, The Kite Runner, Holy-Wars, and Quantum of Solace.

MK12's experimental and short film catalogue has been featured in many intrnational film festivals and has been published in design and trade gournals worldwide. Most recently, the short film •Overload• — a collaboration with NY-based painter Brian Alfred — was inducted into the Guggen permanent collection.

The group of artists further employs the talents of John Baker, Heather Brantman, Shawn Burns, Teddy Dibble, and James Ramiriz.

The collective continues to produce original content for television and cinema, recently directing and animating MK12's History of America, which screened at Sundance and other international festivals to warm reviews. It's latest film, TELEPHONEME, returns MK12 to it's roots, fusing graphic design, live action and found material to dramatic effect.

MK12, Telephone Me, 2010, Animation still.