Entanglements: an exploration of the digital literary work FISHNETSTOCKINGS

Hybrid creatures in the code


“We are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism. In short, we are all cyborgs” -- Donna Harway, “Cyborg Manifesto” (1984)

We are already hybrids with our machines.  And perhaps we are invited to understand how we are hybrids with our environments.  

Mermaids are already hybrids (people and fish).  In the code, we see that the image of the ship is a hybrid, the Ship_Mermaid_fishnet2.png, with the upper torso of a mermaid at the front, turning the hull of the ship into the mermaid’s body, and a fin-like sail at the back completing this body, which is also fully ship. Once you know its name, you can see it clearly. And the hybridization is completed by us as we try to catch this creature in a net.  The net (and its various colored “Warped” manifestations) is our puppet and the mership a caughtThing (annotates lines 327-393).

In the code, the mermaids are merboids and the jellies are also jellyboids [annotate lines 239-284] grouped together in mermaidFlocks and jellyFlocks (link to page on the flocking code). They are part water creature, part creature of the air, and the fusion allows them to move.  

The Little Mermaid is the story of giving up that hybridity, of a character who chooses, in her becoming, to give up the fish tail that gives her such grace and speed and strength as she moves through the water in order to assimilate into bipedal culture, mono culture, to marry, and of course to be able to procreate with humans. 

Likewise, do we become hybrid creatures as we enter into the piece. We are creatures of land entering into the sea. We are creatures of the flesh entering the digital space through the interpolation of the Kinect motion capture system.

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