Co-teaching an online course at UnderAcademy College, Chris Funkhouser and Sonny Rae Tempest co-authored the libretto Shy nag by applying a series of intensive digital processes to a piece of hexadecimal code (derived from a .jpg image).
Shy nag, after a year of intensive deliberations with regard to media application in a performance setting, is now a multimedia, “code opera” that transforms (repurposes) the same piece of code to add visual display (scenery) audio component(s) to the work.
In Shy nag, Microsoft Word and numerous other programs and processing techniques have a non-trivial presence in the composition. Software serves as a type of interlocutor that sustains the writers’ experimental objective – a time-consuming process blends creative and uncreative. The exercise also contains destructive qualities as the code migrates to language, image, and sound – although the authors prefer foregrounding its multi-level transformative properties.
Allowing the software to dictate and steer the direction of this type of writing serves to endow the dialog with unexpected vocabulary and unforeseeable textual encounters in which compositional decisions must be made. Combining authorial rules with subjectivity, one “text,” through programmatic filtering, expands into another and is also applied to create media effects. Despite the use of software programs (and different versions of programs) to conduct text, the number of hours humans spent shaping it is extensive.
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