Artist Statement : Unnatural Language

My body of work is rooted within a writing engagement where natural and computational language are entangled. I am a hybrid language artist whose compositional practice is structured and open-ended, rigorous but experimental, one that errs from blueprints to inhabit the unexpected. I use code as a medium to write, to process my writing, to remix foreign sources and to produce new texts algorithmically. Borrowing from multiple contexts - literature, architecture, science - each project is a conceptual and executable system with evolving constraints for its performance.
I purposely invoke the word performance as a term applied to both artists and computers, suggesting both expression and mechanical precision. As a creative coder, my work contains principles for aesthetic dimensions including visuality, temporality and motion. The performance of a given system as software may be experienced on a laptop or mobile device, as a site-specific multi-screen installation, or in the context of a live event where its structures and data can be extended to orchestrate the intervention of one or many bodies. I attempt to construct complex projects in which the underlying system is fluidly ubiquitous, everywhere and nowhere, circulating between human and non-human players and performers.
While my works are published, performed and exhibited as works of computational poetry, large-scale implementations are realized through a choreography of code, bodies and spaces where visual language imitates a human dance and performers embody a variable flow of data, vocalizing dynamically altered texts or physically mapping the calculated positions of stars. In 2012, after years of work integrating code, language and the live body, I formed the collective, Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r), an idea conceived when I encountered the architectural form of early modern anatomical theatres, elliptical multilevel spaces designed for viewing human surgeries and dissections from above. ATOM-r was envisioned as a theater of operations to explore anatomical histories, the technologized body, and the queer behaviors of complex systems.
Since the formation of ATOM-r, my work integrates mobile augmented reality (AR), merging the physical world and digital materials trhough camera views. Configurations of text are mapped to geo-spatial points populating an invisible architecture - the elliptical tiers and constellations of the operating theatre. The bodies of performers are superficially augmented through the use of interactive temporary tattoos that are scanned with a smartphone to reveal virtual layers of content. Recent projects, The Operature and Kjell Theøry mine histories of queer sexuality and engage with oppressed, libidinous, enhanced, medicalized and gender-fluid bodies. The augmented tattoos worn by ATOM-r performers are derived from designs of Phil Sparrow, an alias of Samuel Steward. Steward was a Chicago-based protégé of the modernist writer Gertrude Stein whose Stud File documented his thousands of then-illegal homosexual encounters in a card catalog using a self-devised method of alphanumeric encryption. The fake roses on the surface of bodies in the ATOM-r operating theater, generative of semi-human language, point to a contemporary augmented poetics and perform an inversion of Stein's famous line: a rose is not a rose is not a rose.