Blending traditions of Consequences, Exquisite Corpse, Mad Libs and procedural composition, “Against — Against” is a phrasal template word game that a computer plays with words from a user-generated database.
The template is a statement by United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Case 16-111, “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”
“Suppose he says: Look, I have nothing against — against gay people. I just don’t think they should have marriage because that’s contrary to my beliefs. It’s not — it’s not their identity; it’s what they’re doing.”
From Justice Kennedy’s statement, three phrases are subtracted: “gay people”; “marriage”; “it’s what they’re doing”:
“Suppose he says: Look, I have nothing against — against ________________. I just don’t think they should have ________________ because that’s contrary to my beliefs. It’s not — it’s not their identity; it’s ________________.”
To co-create the database, users fill in the blanks with:
-a category of people
-a social benefit or desirable thing
-a sentence beginning with “It’s how” or “It’s what” or “It’s who,” and ending with something people do, for example: it’s how they dress; it’s what they wear; it’s how they talk; it’s what they talk about; it’s who they associate with.
With the words users provide, a computer fills the blanks at non-synchronized intervals (or phased intervals). Words appear in ever-changing combinations. The output demonstrates grammars of oppression: adaptable linguistic structures for targeting, oppressing, and rationalizing.
Video shows 180 seconds of code running with a sample user-generated database.
d. is an intermedia storyteller. Their work has been shown in Tattoo Highway, Fringe, Birkensnake, The Collagist, PANK, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Split Lip, Silk Road Review, Hobart Pulp, Beacon Sound, Mass MoCA/Cycling ‘74 and other places. Their most recent work, “Black Lives, White Imaginaries,” in Piedmont University’s interdisciplinary journal, COMP, investigates the convergence of political, judicial, and cinematic institutions in the destructive and profitable production of Blackness, Black Lives, and White fantasies.