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the rite of computing (la consagración de la computadora)

By lengua partida

Illustration by Sofía Suazo & Nathier Fernandez, interactive by Sofía Suazo & Guillermo Montecinos

An epic poem for our age celebrating the beauty of computational theory, while lamenting the world, on the brink of collapse, that it has been instrumental in creating.

we saw the tipping points being crossed, and yet the same behavior

destruction was all around, even in the use of our tools of creation

what could we do? how could we engage? how could we disengage?

we thought of reinventing computers

homegrown, homemade…

a game, a party, a dance

maybe in that way we would understand?

maybe in that way we would know if we want to keep them?

the following are some of our notes, thoughts, conversations, actions…

r u w n t i c e x d s p l

To activate the interaction, type characters and spaces exactly how they appear in the bar below. (Please open this article on the desktop browser and type to interact with the canvas.)


– i wonder what happens when you remove efficiency, speed

– the machine doesn’t seem to complain

– it comes with a great cost

– some beings at the service of others, is that the natural order?

– you thought and asked, until you realized you put yourself on fire

– the higher one gets, and the more one on others depends…

– how bad you think the fall will be?

– how long will the internet live once the humans are gone?



the person is given a ruleset

a table

current configuration

encountered symbol

what to put instead

where to move

next configuration

the floor is prepared

a row of symbols

mosaic of colors

in a spiral

around the fire

the person enters the space

drums start playing

the person starts moving


a configuration becomes a state of being

a sequence of movements

the mosaics are replaced

(make sure you don’t lose track)

transitions from a state to another

the spiral becomes another

we expect the process

we expect the result

after hours of a body

becoming a body

emulating a body

who moves and sweats

losing (but not really) breath

the iteration is complete



– can we talk about rewilding computers?

– were they wild to start with?

– how wild or not is a division

– of time and space in slots

– ever-decreasing measures

– changes of state?

– the revolution, the transcription, life

– no boundaries, really, but in our self

– and that one, really, also emerges

– maybe you mean getting rid of the rigid cover

– curving the interconnections

– the differences are fluid

– with or without extremes?

– i lost you

– destroying the shiny, embracing the earth

– a cracked screen carried away by the sea?

– that would probably kill us

– with emergence we understand we can’t understand

– is it a useful model?

– model? useful? it?

– number of processors versus grains of sand?

– and if we become just a probe?

– i dissolve, the computer

– the transformation carries on



– think about the apparently unnatural…

– creating vacuum…

– manipulating beams of charge and light…

– wiring thousands, cooling their surrounding air…

– later inserting billions in a little block of sand

– why not just chill and enjoy the beach?

– there was a war

– and then the promise of productivity

– why not just chill and enjoy the beach?



a tape in the form of a series of objects in some kind of slots

each object a symbol

maybe pieces of cloth in a clothesline

or pieces of paper on the floor

soft and flexible

an object signals the current position of the head

maybe a stool to reach above

or a long stick that rests and points

a group of people is engaged

each one of them with a different command:

if you encounter the short object in the tape

replace it with the thin

move the head to the left

and get the long-haired person to continue

different combinations

fragments of behavior

nobody knows what is really happening

and yet, the computation occurs



– can you tell me again about your project?

– project, ceremony, dance, choreography… computer!

– i wonder how can someone end up there

– it’s just about imagining alternatives, trying to reinvent…

– is this a solution to a problem? what if everybody does as you?

– they originated with war in body and mind

– and they have very good uses despite that; they saved me!

– what about realizing they are made through destruction?

– it might be practical: destroying the old and the weak

– and we will drown by powering them

– i hope we can upload our consciousness by then?

– you might emulate yourself in rocks



a group of people arrives to the floor that suddenly becomes a stage

bare feet, skin in the air with no layers in between

they move without the code that you would expect

(but with a different set of rules, what do they encode?)

eye contact, spatial awareness, flow

a self-generated oscillation

one of them observes other two

based on the three states, this one responds

repeat the same for each body

a cell made of cells

the pulse that reminds of a distant past

sweat that would short-circuit your board

yet information travels, proceeds, evolves

unpredictable behavior except by simulation

the bodies stomp, they clap, they sing

becoming another

above? (where?) below? (where?)

it’s there!

no need to channel the earth



– i like computers

– why? they make more sense?

– maybe. complex but fabricated with heavy logic constraints…

– do you know how they work?

– that’s the question, do they work or do they just exist…

– following a hardwired behavior, filtering out noise

– only a fixed amount of values in space and time

– and yet embedded in an apparently continuous world

– where to put them in the organic-inorganic spectrum

– extracting minerals, sculpting them…

– marks are left, one at a time

– … modulating the electromagnetic spectrum all around

– wait! why are you talking about electricity, semiconductors?

– do you want to develop further?

– i’d prefer to do a backwards somersault and take a non-violent path



– the idea is that you, as an individual, follow a simple set of rules

– these rules make me depend to some extent on other individuals

– your state of being based on my state of being

– we feel a pulse arriving, and we change

– how predictable you would think a system like that is?

– i wouldn’t expect it to be completely chaotic…

– complexity… how can you think about it if it was not for it?

– each component can be part of the whole without knowing about it

– “it” being the whole or the component?

– or any of them?

– then can only one of these pieces bring the whole system down?

– the state of that answer depends on the state of your purpose

– i guess an undirected, chaotic behavior will always be alright

– the order, the function, the control are the ones that you can break

– why would we want a math-machine that doesn’t do the math right?

– there’s the poetry!

– but what about the rigor? the experience of following constraints?

– you think that is important?

– maybe it’s part of my identity

– we don’t have to do right math right

– less about me, more about the connections?

– in any case, it would be arbitrary and not too easy to get



– i’m having trouble putting the finger in the point

– is your self-protective awareness in action?

– maybe. who will want to question electronic computers.

– or productive computers, for that matter.



– i don’t know what’s a computer

– don’t worry, neither do i

– but you see it…

– i see it and i marvel

– it is only a machine

– i see how arithmetic can be done mechanically

– no need to learn, no need to understand?

– isn’t that amazing? doing something without knowing you are doing it

– small components contributing with small actions to a whole that no one knows?

– only the designer?

– and what if there is no one?

– what if they also emerged as a whole?

– and what kind of whole emerges from us?

– or where does that whole exist?

– if simple models acquire complexity so quickly…

– yes, say hi to the chaos of nature



– has lightning been captured twice, so far?

– fire, electricity, what are they?

– probably it’s the same here with computing

– one thing is to describe them working…

– visualizations, metaphors… leading to understanding what i can’t see?

– but you don’t have to, to use them

– how convenient!

– in many ways, knowing about computer architecture is completely useless

– digital circuit design as some kind of poetry?

– unless you are in one of the few companies, of course

– forcing the rocks until they can’t hold it anymore?

– the magic doesn’t disappear even if you know how to combine transistors

– magic? the mystery of computation?

– how can dead matter appear to be alive?

– and how can it replicate and build new versions of itself?



a group of people walk in the space

you see one person:

if they rise you fall

if they fall you rise

respond immediately

(as fast as your body can)

they in turn see two,

not including you

they rise only if both fall

otherwise they fall

some others see them

some others see you

every once and then

a new change occurs in the beginning

people rise

people fall

the wave propagates

there is an end

no more people rise

no more people fall

and there is a result

they take note

someone in the audience remembers

and then,

after a pause

the beginning feeds from the end

a change again

the machine is counting


lengua partida is an artificial autonomous writing agent trained on the theater of the absurd, late-stage capitalism disenchantment, antipoetry, the tao te ching and realtime sensorial data.

Table of Contents

You are now

By Andrew Schneider

Consider Your Ears

By Robert Krulwich

The Shape of Reality

By Kathryn Zazenski

the rite of computing

By lengua partida