Generative Behaviors, 2016

This was posted in February 2016 as part of array[] discussion board on the topic of Performance. Upon completion of the piece, I've decided to actually produce the piece this year. The listserv to which these threads are posted focus on sharing foundation level new media approaches and practices. Each month artists and educators lead discussion threads based on a different topic.



This is cut and pasted from my entry on the discussion board:

{Hello. My name is L[3]^2. I'm not really posing a question here. Rather, I thought I'd approach this thread with a process piece. The more I read it, the more I'd like to implement a version of this as an experiment in a classroom over an entire semester in a new media context. But, for now, you could possibly consider this a performance that exists only in the virtual space between your ears.

The word "performance" causes me a bit of anxiety, so I'd like to propose this piece as an exercise in body modification through behavior. So, this is a "behavior". My behaviors are the result of systems that begin as images, move to thought experiments through writing, and end up either on screen or mediated by something that allows me to get somewhat close to the way I imagine situations in my head. I'm really interested in computational expression(-ism?) and technologically mediated transformation, so I tend to write impossible performances which lead me to rule based strategies during the production of the piece. In short, I work with computers because of the morphological freedom that they can provide.

Below is an example of a thought experiment, written specifically for this month's topic. I'll spell out my process here.}

//Title. My pieces are usually made of many parts (I've started listing the number of files, media, etc. associated with them) so I begin with a title to keep me in touch with the original image.

"Capsule_3: In Which One Survives[Performs] A Life[The Impossible]": A behavior written for virtual space.
//Image. I'm imagining something like the white scene in Lucas' THX 1138 here.
A piece for 1 player [1a] + multiple personas [1b, 1c, 1d]. Individually referred to as "it". Group referred to as Player[+]

Environment: The Capsule, a 20 ft white cube (or the pixel equivalent depending on preferred mode of rendering). Quadrant notation from center facing east, moving counterclockwise: -1, -2, -3, -4. No overlapping between quadrants. Meeting of edges between quadrants is lawful, while overlap could be psychically fatal. All players face their assigned walls in order to avoid obligatory solidarity. All strategies are performed as a loop, simultaneously and until death.
//I tend to default to repetition as a choreographic strategy, and I already have a project that will create parameters to work within that strategy...
Choreography suggested by Loving the Alien: Instructions for Other Orthographic Projections, No.2, a deck of cards with strategies written to encourage body modification through behavior.
//IRL bodies are in a perpetual state of transition from one posture to the next. That's not at all how bodies behave in my image so...
Lights up. Brightest of white. Like birth. Traumatic and sterile. Infinity until the Player[+] is born abruptly in the center, defining the space. Transform 1 is the division of Player[+] into four. Transform 2 moves the four persona into position, as assigned. Transform 3 is the adjustment of the body (mesh) to fit the tasks at hand.
//Someone is transmitting the story to you. It's not me.
POV: Simulator, programmer, operator, the one outside the vat.
//Ok, so here's the viscera, the wishful thinking, the metaphors translated into tasks and onto impossible bodies. Write first, produce later. In my case, this way of working leads to more interesting sound and image vocabulary in the final "performance".
Camera_A: TheExtremitiesHaveNoDimension (-1, 1a)
It cannot stand, or reach, or grab, or touch.
The most useful endpoints are the following:
hip sockets
And so it bangs its ends against the floor spelling out its thoughts in sound (and blood).
Since the alphabet requires more strokes than 1a has blood, it invents a language.
Here's the new code:
dot: "This is tolerable with the right music playing."
dot dot [hor]: "This is tolerable when I've enough space to reimagine."
dot dot [ver]: You're shitting me, right?"
Indecipherable to others and so it's blood for blood's own sake.

Camera_B: NoLongerATorus (-2, 1b)
Swallow and excrete, if everything is in working order.
It stands with its face directly against the wall.
Point of origin is farthest left (without overlapping into the adjacent quadrant).
Trajectory is farthest left to farthest right (see above restriction).
The wall holds the internal and external voices of everyone on the other side.
It reads the entire wall line by line.
Unable to digest and excrete, it becomes inflexible and distended.
On the upside, its left on its own to finally sort and reimagine, as no one will approach it due to its stench.

Camera_C: TheSkinHasAnExpirationDate (-3, 1c)
It stands in the center of its quadrant, rotating on its Y.
It is wearing the texture of its skin as it knows it to be.
Each rotation represents a lossy compression of its texture file.
The rotation is swift enough so that with each loss, pieces and pieces are strewn across the space.
(With the exception of the invisible borders at the edge of each quadrant).
The skin file degrades iteratively.
Then the viscera, then the skeleton.
Happy Birthday 1c!!!

Camera_D: TheSongOnlyMattersWhenYourThroatBleeds (-4,1d)
It shifts weight from left to right to hold a tempo.
At the lowest octave possible and the highest volume possible,
The chant goes:
"One became two
Since the first wouldn't do
Look ahead, and not back
To see a third follow you.
The fourth lies in wait
To see the others follow through
Like a four winged soldier
In a war."
Every time 'round is additive.
There's a stream of blood and spit running down the front of its clothes.
{At this point, I'd need to think about how to produce the project (and in this case, I think I will). Or, if this were an assignment in one of my classes, I'd suggest that a student translate their own impossibilities into a computational or electronic abstraction. So, if this were an experiment/assignment in a classroom, I would begin asking for a written component>>> description of behavior modifications (poetic or otherwise)>>> computational expression.

One of the reasons why "performance" gives me the grumps is that I'm not sure I can actually turn it off. I perform as soon as I leave my apartment and anytime I'm not alone. I need another term to differentiate between what I resent and what I find to be productive. "Resent" might be a strong word. When I think longer about it, the ability to perform a body of my choosing is one of the reasons why I'm obsessed with transhumanism/posthumanism (you remember that scene in The Matrix when the Operator uploads a helicopter pilot program to Trinity, right?). The possibilities inherent to morphological freedom are hard to resist. But, everyday performance is an adaptation. Adaptation is forced upon a person. Body modification by way of behavior (media: self directed) is a form of agency, self construction, emancipation.}