Prometheus — Quiet Eye
Elizabeth Shaw’s personal message to Peter Weyland
This document proposes an analysis of Quiet Eye (1:34/1:24/2:30, Johnny Hardstaff, 2012), promotional video of Prometheus (R. Scott, 2012). The research considers the product and its materials by studying the creative choices, the informative properties, the modalities of visual representation and promotion.
“Hello Mr. Weyland. I’m Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.”
1.1. Prometheus: a new marketing myth
Developed by creating an unprecedented and sophisticated combination of materials with high immersive potential, Prometheus’ (R. Scott, 2012) transmedia campaign represents one of the most impressive and pervasive promotional initiatives ever made in the entertainment industry.
Thirty-three years after the release of Alien (1979), Prometheus’ new independent story had the aim of regenerating Ridley Scott’s legendary science-fiction intellectual property through an innovative phase of narrative and commercial expansion, implemented with meta-communication strategies, intersectoral collaborations and participatory practices.
“[We want to] blur the boundaries between content and marketing, fiction and reality, story and game. It can be blurred to the point of invisibility, creating a holistic narrative experience that entertains and engages regardless of platform. […] So keeping the story going and keeping people interested with just the right amount of information was the line we tried to walk the entire time. […] The audience should have an active role to play in the narrative and their own place in the story world.”
1.2. Advertising a character
Quiet Eye presents Dr. Elisabeth Shaw while recording a private video message directed to Peter Weyland to ask the entrepreneur for a business meeting and present her scientific discoveries. The presence of Shaw coincides with its future participation in Project Prometheus, with reference to the film (ambientato nel 2093), where the archeologist joins the interplanetary mission financed by Weyland Corporation to investigate the origin of humanity.
The content of the primary campaign includes (key elements):
- Ted Talk 2023
February 28, 2012
Entrepreneur Peter Weyland presents to the public his extreme vision of progress of humanity, announcing his ambition to change the whole world through the unlimited power of technology.
- Weyland Industries’ website
March 5, 2012
The company’s official website hosts sections dedicated to corporate services, the industrial sector, the company’s history and technology, recruitment and scientific projects, which all help to introduce, describe and expand the historical and techno-social context of Prometheus’ fictional world.
- Introducing the David 8
April 17, 2012
David 8, which is the result of eight generations of synthetic humanoids produced by Weyland Industries, is presented to the public through an interview with advertising purposes.
- Prometheus international launch trailer
April 29, 2012
After the teaser trailer (Feb. 17), the publication of the extended international trailer (2:55) reveals important unpublished scenes and new fundamental information on Prometheus’s story, generating immediate and intense traffic online.
- Quiet Eye
May 16, 2012
The private video message sent by Dr. Elizabeth Shaw to Peter Weyland asking him to finance her scientific and archaeological research, regarding the forthcoming Prometheus mission.
- Training Center
May 16, 2012
The domain dedicated to recruitment as Weyland Industries operator in the Prometheus mission. To be suitable for the job, the user must perform a series of games and logical-interactive tests and obtain a high score against other users-candidates.
- Discover New Worlds
June 5, 2012
The domain hosts an interactive gaming experience where users can pilot the Prometheus spaceship to explore Weyland-owned space colonies and obtain information on their socio-economic context, unlocking exclusive concept artworks.
- Project Genesis
June 7, 2012
The domain hosts a gaming experience dedicated to helping Dr. Shaw complete her search for ancient artifacts, which are necessary for the scientific and archaeological purposes of Project Prometheus.
Users are invited to track down clues disseminated online and complete an interactive graph inside the domain, helping the archaeologist fill the star map that will indicate the mission’s final destination.
June 7–8, 2012
Revealed after the end credits of the film, the domain hosts a three-dimensional model of Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, and a specific note with some historical information on the book’s content. There is also an unpublished video (0:27) that shows Peter Weyland mentioning Nietzsche absorbed in his thoughts, just before his speech on the TED Talk 2023 stage.
“I believe there’s a place where every one of those questions could be answered. I believe I know where that place is. I need you to get me there.”
2.1. Private message
In a personal video message, Dr. Elisabeth Shaw addresses Peter Weyland directly, presenting her profile as an archaeologist with the hope of meeting the entrepreneur and sharing her important scientific discoveries.
Shaw’s message consists of 6 parts:
- Greetings and presentation
Revelation recipient (Peter Weyland) and sender (Elisabeth Shaw)
- Irony (declaration of determination)
For the past month, Shaw has continued to contact the Weyland office every day, without an answer. Shaw says that Weyland employees probably think she will give up contacting him again, but she says she wants to insist.
- Presentation of professional profile and educational qualifications (value of knowledge and faith)
Archaeologist with a doctorate in paleontology, archaelogy, human ethology, methics, Shaw underlines the difference between his knowledge as a scientist, and his personal beliefs. The difference between science and faith is driven by scientific evidence.
- Question about the sense of science (shared values)
Trying to intercept Weyland’s curiosity, Shaw declares that science may not give all the answers that humanity seeks: where do we come from? Are we really alone?
- Reference to a discovery (generating curiosity)
Shaw believes there is a place to find all the answers, a destination for truth, which she wants to share with Weyland, the only one who can physically and financially help her reach it.
- Promise to resend the message (request reply)
Confirming his determination, Shaw declares that if he does not have a reply from Weyland, she will continue to send this message the following day.
“Do you feel that all the science in the world will never give us the answers we really want? Where we came from? Whether or not we’re truly alone?”
The interface of the Yutani analysis system includes several elements:
- Double image (with bipartite screen in part A and B)
- Duration (a reverse account indicates the time of the message)
- Gender recognition
- Parameter measurement of: honesty, fear, excitement, malintent, anxiety, determination, coercion (indicating the secondary parameters of: masked expression, hesitation, Duchenne Smile, protean signal, gaze aversion)
- Recognition of accessory forms (crucifix)
- Biometric measurements (anatomical geometries, facial expressions, eyelid closure / retinal analysis, dental apparatus analysis)
- Speech recognition (with dental analysis)
- Photo database search (compatible profiles)
- Date and time (daylight)
- Geographical coordinates Glasgow
- Identity, keyword and full signature of the doctor.
Considering the transmedia communicative strategies that have been adopted during Prometheus’ promotional campaign, Quiet Eye proves to be a particularly important project because:
- It combines stylistic aspects of advertising, immersive meta-communication and integrated promotional strategies combining recognizable visual elements and narrative elements.
- It presents the character of Elisabeth Shaw, underlining her primary psychological profile and her personal biographical backgrounds (expanding a secondary narrative and prior to the main story). It explores a specific previous and independent background to the film (which is set in 2093), stimulating the user to imagine a hypothetical chronology of interconnected events.
- Anticipates the background of the Genesis scientific project, funded by Weyland to complete the archaeological research of Dr. Shaw.
- It shows a first total disinterest of Weyland towards the Shaw, then a fundamental figure for realizing the Prometheus Project.
- For the first time 35 years after the original Alien (1979) it reveals the presence of a corporate entity other than Weyland Industries (showing its unedited logo) generating questions and mysteries.
- It encourages the public into a process of research and comparison of information in a long-term engagement strategy that begins months before and is destined to intensify in the future.
- From a sector perspective, it optimizes the materials produced during the cinematographic realization with an astute creative solution.
2.2. Dialogue transcription
[Prometheus Crew Files
Classified personnel only
Hello Mr. Weyland.
I’m Dr. Elizabeth Shaw.
If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve been calling your office every day for the last month. I think your people were hoping I’d give up. I’m… I’m not good at giving up. I’m an archaeologist. I have doctorates in paleontology, archaelogy, human ethology, and methics. This is not who I am; it’s simply what I know. I make the distinction, sir, because there’s a difference as what a scientist knows and what they believe.
That difference is proof.
Do you feel that all the science in the world will never give us the answers we really want? Where we came from? Whether or not we’re truly alone?
I believe there’s a place where every one of those questions could be answered. I believe I know where that place is. I need you to get me there.
If you don’t respond, sir, I completely understand, but, I’ll be sending this transmission again tomorrow.
Launching June 8
2.3. Visual structure
 The version published on Youtube (1:34) presents additional screens at the beginning and at the end (simulating a computer archive of Weyland and announcing the data of the Prometheus Mission), then removed in the reduced version (1:24). The director’s website shows the original extended version (2:30). https://bit.ly/39ZnzkH
 The original video was directed by Ridley Scott as a screening test to verify the English language skills of the actress Noomi Rapace, then assessed by Damon Lindelof as viral content. The final direction is by Johnny Hardstaff, former director of Introducing David 8 and Mission Transmission for the trans-media campaign of Prometheus. The sound design is by Joe Mount (Introducing David 8, Mission Transmission). https://bit.ly/34v8GWa https://bit.ly/34rwx8S https://bit.ly/34t9pH3
 From TED (Ted Talk 2023) to Weyland Industries’ official website (the company’s timeline, its services and technology), from LinkedIn (recruitment messages) to Internet Explorer 9 (assessment test), WonderCon (realistic business cards) and Twitter (realistic individual profiles), Prometheus’ promotion has developed through distributing massive quantities of information via multiple and diversified media channels, achieving unprecedented design results. The domain has been disconnected and united with the Alien franchise’s official website. See https://bit.ly/2VuBn44 https://bit.ly/2HabUmy https://bit.ly/2Vj9E1y https://bit.ly/2JcYppK https://bit.ly/2WAA0xn
 Interview with Chris Eyerman. See https://bit.ly/2Hj8aPm
 In an advertisement (2:30, Johnny Hardstaff), the David 8 android (Michael Fassbender) is interviewed, introducing itself to the public and presenting its operational functions by simulating plausible commercial availability. The visible date indicates 2078 (August 1), 55 years after Peters Weyland’s TED presentation. A section entirely dedicated to the David robots is subsequently opened on the WeylandIndustries.com domain, with technical information on them, descriptions of their features and operational capabilities and further details. During Prometheus’ promotional campaign, the images of human emotions shown by David were gradually unlocked by users by collecting and deciphering special fragmented codes on different websites involved in the initiative. The Introducing the David video was also broadcasted on television (for Verizon customers) and diffused as print advertisement (on the Wall Street Journal).
 The trailer was broadcasted in prime time on the British TV channel Channel 4, during the first commercial break of the series Homeland.
At the end of the trailer, users were invited to share their opinions on Twitter using the hypertext call #areyouseeingthis? (pronounced by Noomi Rapace). The most enthusiastic comments were then broadcasted live during the next commercial break, transforming the users’ tweets directly into television promotional messages for the first time in an advertising campaign.
 The texts, the Yutani Corporation logo and interferences with biometric systems may refer to illegal interception and industrial espionage activities done by the Japanese telecommunications company against Weyland.
 Designed in collaboration with Microsoft using the new Internet Explorer 9 and HTML 5, the activity is organised into five training sections (Agility, G-Force, Situational Intelligence, Spatial Relations, Prefrontal Cortex).
It is possible to register on the application via access with Facebook or Twitter credentials, simultaneously sharing the scores and objectives completed in the tests on social media. Each competition also includes secondary objectives, their related exclusive videos and celebratory icons that the user is encouraged to collect, gaining visibility on the Training Center’s main page, and receiving additional content directly on his personal e-mail.
After successfully completing the training, the user can access a Facebook application inside the Weyland website (Employee ID Creator, now disconnected), thus becoming part of the Prometheus crew with the possibility of digitally creating his own mission tag identifier, complete with personal data, passport photos and the Weyland Corporation logo.
 The Prometheus spaceship can be piloted to explore the 63 space colonies founded by Weyland Corporation on other planets, with company infographics on energy and mining resources, and 20 concept artworks to be unlocked along the virtual path. The domain was put online during Venus’ alignment with the Sun. Note: it is now disconnected.
 The promotional video later refers to Project Genesis, an interactive experience within the Weyland Industries domain, where the user can navigate an interactive map by exploring different geographical locations with the aim of collecting archaeological objects and unlocking the pages of Shaw’s personal research diary, obtaining exclusive information related to the historical-scientific background of the Prometheus story relating to possible contacts between aliens and ancient human civilizations. The introductory message reports: “Weyland Industries has contracted Dr. Elizabeth Shaw to help further her groundbreaking research on anthropological traces of a shared human origin. This stage of research requires outside agents to assist in the search for artifacts and sites from a variety of cultures that support her hypothesis.” Note: the domain is now disconnected. Another similar interactive experience is Discover New Worlds, where the user has the opportunity to discover information on Weyland-owned space colonies using the USCSS Prometheus spaceship as a navigation system to explore different worlds. See https://goo.gl/U22NQj https://goo.gl/sNPYvZ https://goo.gl/x7FdHYhttps://goo.gl/de4pFT See https://bit.ly/2PWkfON
 Weyland pronounces the sentence “I am a law only for my kind, I am not a law for all”: the connection with Nietzsche reveals part of his cultural and philosophical background, and establishes a semantic and symbolic relationship with the creation of David, with clear thematic and visual allusions to the Superman culture and subsequent Nazi influences (see also the presence of Wagner’s Entry of the Gods into Valhalla reproduced by David in the first sequence of Alien: Covenant). The domain then hosts information on the Prometheus DVD and Blu-Ray. Note: the domain has been disconnected. See https://bit.ly/2DZUGHA https://bit.ly/2HcIipZ
 The presence of a double image is perhaps due to a stereoscopic reverberation of the signal or caused by the elaboration of the artificial intelligence system. The condition can also be considered by evaluating the presence of two distinct Yutani logos: the entire wording “Yutani”, and the child’s head with the Y inside. While the first logo represents the company, the second may represent the logo of Quiet Eye technology. In one hypothesis, the right screen (B) would represent the input data stream (considering the best video quality), and the left one (A) the output data stream (reworked) as a result of the analysis of the Quiet Eye system ; it should be noted, however, that it is the right side (A), in the first shot and in the last one, that houses the logo of the child’s head with the results of the analysis.
 Counting starts from 001871 reaching zero when the video ends.
 After pronouncing the name and surname of the doctor, a Uppercase F appears in the interface, perhaps indicating the gender of the sender recognized as a woman. The subsequent appearance of the number 33 may perhaps indicate the age of the doctor. The symbol of an arrow (or a stylized envelope) may also indicate the origin of the call (incoming towards the supervised Weyland line), or represent a category of content recognized by the Quiet Eye system (video call). It is curious to note the presence of a strong interference on the doctor’s voice just when she reveals her identity, partially hindering the voice analysis of the Quiet Eye system and the correct transcription of the name and surname.
 The symbol of a cross appears in the interface after an analysis of the doctor’s pendant. The origin of the jewel is then revealed in Prometheus, when it is visible worn by Shaw’s father, then inherited by the doctor after his death. The object reveals the religious orientation of the doctor, probably of Christian tradition. His subsequent observations between the value of knowledge and the relationship with faith underline his personal conflict with science, capable of providing evidence to explain reality. The final revelation of the doctor’s full name, referred to as Elizabeth M. Shaw, may suggest the middle name as Mary, with further references to Christian culture. Listening carefully at 0:08–12/0:24–27, it seems that we can distinguish an Italian prayer, perhaps the beginning of an Ave Maria. In relation to the crucifix, the detail is very interesting because it can represent the association of meaning that the Quiet Eye system has established between the crucifix and a radio interference from a Christian prayer.
 The isolation of the eye is reminiscent of the Voight-Kampff test, used in Blade Runner (R. Scott, 1982) to recognize androids in a conversation. In this case the Quiet Eye system can try to understand if the doctor is a human being or an android, or try to obtain biometric information to determine her exact identity (then definitively confirmed by displaying her personal signature). See https://youtu.be/Umc9ezAyJv0
 Several female faces are displayed, indicating the search for the system of subjects compatible with the doctor. Below, a bar is visible with several photographs of women (and a man), some of which portray the doctor (Noomi Rapace), perhaps in some costume tests for the preliminary tests of Prometheus (but also, in a curious example of metacommunication (like Shaw’s private profile pictures). The recognizable texts of the various profiles include: Munich (Germany), Los Angeles (California), Djambala (DR Congo), Mombassa (Kenya), Osaka (Japan), Pyongyang (DR Korea), Tokyo (Japan), Manchester (UK) , Shamokin (Pennsylvania), Tucson (Arizona), Santa Monica (California). The overlapping of images of other women on the vault of the doctor demonstrates the search for female subjects by the artificial intelligence system of Yutani, committed to analyzing calls with similar voices also looking for assonances in the identification of the subject (see the different writing variables of the name and surname of the doctor) and biometric profiles (perhaps including a sound mapping in the dental system based on the pronunciation of the words). The uniformity of women’s faces, portrayed in the same position, at the same distance from the lens, with the same lighting and background, perhaps suggests a flow of data coming from a series of similar devices, such as for example a possible Weyland commercial product of interactive telephony.
 The visible date indicates 4: 08: 2079, interpretable as April 8 or August 4. The timetable 21:10 (later 21:11), with a geographical reference to a satellite connection in Beijing (Sat router, China, #BJ 402). Another date indicated (2074) may indicate the year of introduction of the Quiet Eye technology by the Yutani Corporation, therefore introduced five years earlier. The complete wording reads: “Yutani Polygraph Technologies 2074 — Yutani Corp Worldwide / Off-world 809–551A-3442” and the variable “Version 4 M-79 Yutani Photo-Polygraph Technologies.” In this case, in 2079, 56 years after his historic Ted Talk, Peter Weyland (born in 1990) is 89 years old. It is not clear whether the indicated time (21: 10–11) refers to the original time of the call or if, considering the satellite signal located in Beijing, it is necessary to consider 7 hours of difference for the time zone. Considering the revelation of the Glasgow coordinates, the hypothesis is that the original call was made in Europe around 2 pm.
 The visible coordinates 55 ° 52'00.0 “N 4 ° 17'00.0” W exactly refer to 88 Kelvingrove St, Glasgow G3 7SA, United Kingdom. In Prometheus, Elisabeth Shaw and her fellow archaeologist Holloway find an important archaeological find on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, managing to confirm the reference to a system of planets connected with the history of humanity, the final destination of the Prometheus Project. The message therefore seems to have been sent by the Scottish city, about 330 km away from the excavation site on the Isle of Skye, and likely the place of residence of Shaw and Holloway during the research period. Vedi https://goo.gl/maps/f5S6phexQNHN4Znz6
 The complete extract information includes: F, 33, arrow symbol, ID: 2092057, password: 64133, crucifix symbol, complete signature. The inscription IDV user: P. Weyland PVM (Private Message) indicates the private origin of the Shaw message and expresses the illegal interception by Yutani towards the systems of the Weyland Corporation.
 In Alien, set in 2122, the financing company of the spaceship mission Nostromo is in fact presented as Weyland-Yutani, thus imagining a business merger that occurred approximately between 2094 and 2103-4 (the year of setting of Alien: Covenant, where the Weyland-Yutani brand appears.)
 In an interview Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof describe how the video Queit Eye is actually derived from an English-language acting test that the actress Noomi Rapace had to create for internal use in Fox to verify the stage skills. https://bit.ly/34v8GWa https://bit.ly/34rwx8S https://bit.ly/34t9pH3
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