Sunday, August 1, 2021

Theater of Impotence, Mike Corrao

 Dramatis Personae: YOU

Setting: YOUR ROOM


Act 1: YOU are torn apart on the flickering screen of a box computer monitor. ASCII graphics spreading and condensing. Every glyph is a particle in the wave. Corrupted notes rise as excitations. YOU note each corruption on your interface. The notes form a rudimentary image. YOU see something. The outline of a figure of personal importance.


Memory is a fragile object made of time and language.


The outline of a loved-one is the blurring of a poem.


You are a WEEPER. You weep when you can’t tell who this is.


You cut the meat from between your thighs.


You throw it into the ocean. The ocean turns red.


Act 2: The screen is a stage for procedural performances. YOU perform a scene from a play titled, “SCAB SCHEMA” which has you reading incoherent babel. Half-formed sentences with bolded terminology. Words like “generative,” “incipit,” “birth.” YOU feel as if you are being mocked. I don’t know by what. A ghost in the machine. Something underneath the luminous darkness. SCAB SCHEMA, YOU assume, is a play about growing new skin. Post-ecdysis. Post-injury. The directions tell you to tear away the skin beneath your knee. It doesn’t say which knee. YOU do not want to. Your hand does so anyways.


The script of SCAB SCHEMA demands utterance. It demands to be spoken, brought into the physical realm. The interface is capable of uploading information into your head, but it cannot force you into action. YOU are in control. YOU are the subject, but still YOU are in control. The object / interface shallowly guides your actions. YOU attempt to speak as the skin of your knees peels back from the muscle.


This is a work of performance. Did you not expect us to ask for you to perform it?


Is this your first time on stage?


Have you felt weightless? Have you been on a plane? Or levitated above a fire?


SCAB SCHEMA is a play about rebirth. Have you ever been reborn?


ACT 3: The flesh beneath your knees burns in the open air. Blood seeps from the spaces between muscle and bone. At first like water, and then like mucous. Welling in dense globules after the pressure has caused it to coagulate. Thin red streaks run down your calves. “SCAB SCHEMA” regenerates. A new scenario appears on your interface. A new set of lines and directions. YOU skim the lines before uttering.


The monitor glows luminous in the distance. The black screen somehow bright and almost blinding in its darkness. YOU feel the desire to move inward. To investigate the artificiality of this void. But YOU do not. YOU remain where you are. Awaiting further instruction. Awaiting the full render of this script. YOU open your mouth and let SCAB SCHEMA speak through YOU.


SCAB SCHEMA is a work participating in the Theater of Impotence.


Continuing the traditions of Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. Have you seen his soft face and smoothed chin?


The Theater of Impotence is spawned from an inward cruelty. Reflected back onto the self.


The stage is a place for self-flagellation and castration.


SCAB SCHEMA is a play about shortcomings. It is about the skin of your knees that will not grow back, or that will grow back shittier.


Cross-hatched and discolored.


ACT 4: YOU are sitting at a desk with a stack of books on digital fabrications and virtually-oriented architecture. O(rphan)d(rift>) cyberpositive, Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape, Supra Systems, The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence, The Alphabet and the Algorithm, Interface for a Fractal Landscape, CCRU Writings 1997 - 2003, Generative Strata, Lonely Men Club, anything that might remotely lead YOU to the site radiating these auras/ transmitting these frequencies.


YOU attempt to find an archive of previous SCAB SCHEMA iterations. YOU want to collect them and perform them once again. Stepping onto the projected stage and pretending to lift and dance around with its set-dressings. But instead YOU receive a new generation of scenes. They tell YOU to photograph the blood streaks on your shins and to scan them onto this database: aaaaaaaaaaaa  when you are done. YOU obey.


The Theater of Impotence is the conversion of self-exile / self-punishment into art.


In which the actor is a prisoner. And the audience is a jury.


The performance text is a geographical object.


It is a labor-source. The generative cell of potential action.


Do you not read the play as if it is a manual? Or the instructions for assembling a futon?


Do you not read it knowing that you will obey?


ACT 5: YOU read three hundred books. Scanning over every word until YOU are no longer capable of seeing. SCAB SCHEMA infects the interface and crawls into your brain. It tells YOU that YOU must feel the text. Let the interface glow through your eyes. Coil around your optic nerve. The new lines are regurgitated onto your tongue, constructed from the remnants of previous scenes. The generative cells of the procedural process are jury-rigged into your skull. A rudimentary computer spawns a new dialect of whining technobabel.


The eyes are a film camera.


The stage is a projection of certain desires.


We cannot ignore the virtuality of the Theater of Impotence--the role of software in its creation.


The labor of the performance text is accelerated by the procedural-generation of lines.


SCAB SCHEMA is a tool for creating endless utterance / a schizopastoral landscape.


The skull is a housing for teef.


The skull is a housing for yet-to-be-spoken words / proto-utterance.


SCAB SCHEMA is the initiation of these mechanisms.


The Theater of Impotence is a categorization of the mechanisms’ actions.


Do you know what you are doing? What intentions you have in being here?


I do not mean to mock you. I only mean to question your presence here.


SCAB SCHEMA is a play about your own self-induced amnesia / forgetfulness.


The performance text is a diegesis capable of annihilating history.


The labor you perform on its behalf is the construction of a new reality.


In traditional theater, this reality is temporary.


In the Theater of Impotence, it is a replacement for the corporeality of your birth.


SCAB SCHEMA is your migration into the virtual mise-en-scene.

MIKE CORRAO is the author of three novels, MAN, OH MAN (Orson's Publishing); GUT TEXT (11:11 Press) and RITUALS PERFORMED IN THE ABSENCE OF GANYMEDE (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, TWO NOVELS (Orson's Publishing); two plays, SMUT-MAKER (Inside the Castle) and ANDROMEDUSA (Forthcoming - Plays Inverse); and three chapbooks, AVIAN FUNERAL MARCH (Self-Fuck); MATERIAL CATALOGUE (Alienist) and SPELUNKER (Schism - Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and Denver Quarterly. His work often explores the haptic, architectural, and organismal qualities of the text-object. He lives in Minneapolis.

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