|2019||Francesca Panetta,Halsey Burgund|
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In Event of Moon Disaster explores deepfake technology and its growing role in the misinformation ecosystem. We created an alternative history using a deepfake as well as “cheap fakes” with the intent of showing how they are created, how compelling they can be and how people can minimize the chances of being unduly influenced by them. We also wanted to show that synthetic media can be used for positive purposes.
Halsey Burgund, Co-Director, to Docubase
In Event of Moon Disaster is an immersive multiplatform project that uses deepfake technology to produce media that would have existed had the 1969 Apollo 11 mission failed. In doing so, it demonstrates both the possible benefits and harms of deepfake technology. What if the Apollo 11 mission had gone wrong and the astronauts had not been able to return home? President Nixon prepared a contingency speech for this possibility but it was never delivered. Using deepfake technology, In Event of the Moon Disaster recreates this contingency speech showing President Nixon announcing the failure of the moon landing and the deaths of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
To recreate Nixon’s gestures and speech, co-directors Fran Panetta and Halsey Burgund utilized deepfake techniques including deceptive editing, deep learning (to create a synthetic voice of Nixon), synchronized voice, and dialogue replacement (to replicate the movement of Nixon’s mouth and lips). Ultimately, In Event of Moon Disaster explores the influence of misinformation and deepfake technology in contemporary society while inviting people to learn about the implications of artificial intelligence and synthetic media.