– Prosthesis (2011), Ian Hatcher –
Just as the iconic intonations of Apple’s SIRI by Susan Bennett or the sarcastic singsong of Valve’s GLaDDOS by Ellen McLain cannot be separated from their technical scaffolding, Ian Hatcher’s voice cannot be separated from his procedural, programmatic, and personal writing. Hatcher’s practiced monotones, staccato stutters, and seemingly processed pitch bends are the product of an encounter with digital texts generated at speeds and scales that were never meant to be spoken aloud. Prosthesis is a series of poems whose composition began while Hatcher was an MFA at Brown University. Their content mirror their form as a prosthetic, a technical extension driving his algo-aural performance. The piece begins with an authorial “i” which becomes an “i++”–an enumerative count that adds up throughout the album. Hatcher’s recursive signature transforms from first-person identity to programmable variable to the “1” of binary information. This “i” interleaves, interchanges, and becomes indeterminate with the various “i’s” of Alan Turing and Phineas Gage, figures who have come not only to represent the history of artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience but the conflation of these fields with questions of human subjectivity and human sexuality. Prosthesis embodies these stories not only through text but one of electronic literature’s most distinctive voices. “for i i i i i i i…”
About the Author:
Ian Hatcher is a text/sound artist, author of Prosthesis (Poor Claudia 2016), and developer of two poetry apps: Abra, with Amaranth Borsuk and Kate Durbin, and Vniverse, with Stephanie Strickland. His code-inflected vocal performances have been presented widely in the US and Europe.