Lucie and I set out to make an audio response piece to Octavia's disturbing and thought-provoking futuristic short story "Bloodchild." Choosing to reimagine the final climactic insemination scene, when T'Gatoi the many-tentacled worm protector inseminates the protagonist boy Gan.
Butler describes in her afterword to the story that this was a piece in part about 'paying the rent.' As Gan shifts from angry, resentful, and afraid of the giant maternal worm, he also realizes that he must play host to her eggs in the name of his family's safety. As he resigns to pay the rent, he completes the narrative arc of his innocence-lost in "Bloodchild." The theme of future human subjugation also plays nicely against the Singularity analogy, when humans may perhaps be ruled by their own technological creations.
Here we recorded a variety of sounds meant to channel both of these images - the flesh and slime of the worm and the cold plasticity of the sentient computer. I arranged the final scene's dialogue between the two characters into a slightly reimagined monologue from T'Gatoi, placing the listener into the role of the now voiceless Gan. Field recordings were made of Lucie and I channeling our own inner child as we played with slimy toy gel balls, play-doh, yogurt, and stewed tomatoes. A crazy bird from my backyard that sounds quite insect-y makes a few buzzing sonic appearances, meant to evoke T'Gatoi's stinger with the narcotic kiss. This audio event also loosely structures the monologue into three separate sections, like the three acts of the Butler's story which we charted.
For the part of T'Gatoi we had TextEdit read the script from the scene, and recorded Lucie's performance of the scene three different times. In each of the three sections of our piece, an additional Lucie is added to the mix, enforcing the idea that T'Gatoi's stinger/persuasive leverage become incrementally humanized to Gan as he concedes and is perhaps somewhat at peace with 'paying the rent.'
I also made a piece of ambient electronic music to go underneath the field and voice recordings, somewhere in the vein of Fennesz meets Boards of Canada. It's intended to add a sci-fi reference, an emotionally neutral yet utopian feeling.
+ I'd love to make a "Bloodworm" video piece to go with this audio. I envision a one-shot, birds eye view of my hands typing out Gan's half of this dialogue on an iPad, while live worms impede my responses to T'Gatoi's verbal proddings as they crawl around the screen and my hands.