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Libretto: Act I



The stage is dark except for five computers, their monitors emit eerie light. Five humans; .rez, bookish, honoria, Sandy Stone and the Oracle of Hypertext are seated at the computers. Their electronic messages appear word-by-word on a monitor-like screen upstage. The e-mail posts that the humans are typing reveal their identities, their interests, and desires. The humans sing separately, then at certain times, in unison, voicing melancholic longing for meaningful communication. They direct questions to the blind Oracle who returns negative and sometimes ambiguous answers.
The humans ponder possible interpretations.

The Oracle speaks as the curtain goes up

when life dawns on the glowing screen
and worlds emerge from in between
the glowing realms of lingual light
and murky depths of shimmering night

Dare we spell out and post illusions?
Invite spectacular confusion?
Magnetize a paradise
fantasize and rhapsodize
A web of spinning cyber tales
concealed in cryptic electronic-mails?
How long will I send my arrows into the cyber-dark
hoping that I'll pierce alienation's bulwark?

Cyber, Ciberspazio: So close you are at hand.
Do I move this little key and open up your land?
Cyber, Ciberspazio: So close you are at hand.
Do I move this little key and open up your land?

Computing in this ergonomic chair
An oracle confronts me there
My heart is weak, my back's aligned
My mind confused, my life, confined
Seeking refuge from my post-modern intellectualized scorn
found in a cyberspace without physical shape or form
shaped by my projection so immediate and exact
my heart and soul transformed in a single act
by the virtual tao that so strongly beats and flows!
infinite, interconnected energy from computer's glow!

He leads me on, light years away
through astral nights, galactic days
We span the globe - the nets' furious fire
searching for digitized, rhapsodized desire.

.Rez refers to Oracle and emphasizes the vastness
of the realms that are accessed through globally linked technologies.

No, Lovers, you're all alone
No one's out here, no one at home
There is only you and the machine
of love-in-minds the world is clean
There is only you and the machine
the world on-screen, remains pristine.

Techno-solipsism introduces a repeating difficulty
in the opera: Is there no one out there literally or
does the technology offer the ideal, perfect state?

BOOKISH (dejected)
"Of love-in-minds the world is clean?"
Such "cleanliness"! It is obscene!
How come things to be so perverse
How can thing to be so reversed?
That the banal is clean and reality perverse?

Turned inward by ego, lust and greed
has man no where to turn in attempt to be freed?
from his inner grasping, clinging and desire
is the netted love mirrored, sinply man-made wire?

bookish is introduced as a character who represents the intellectual.
He questions the clean realm of cyberspace as a pure abstraction, devoid of love.

Your impassioned words fall upon deadened ears
as communication falls from poets to engineers.

Can it be it's already too late to appeal
the terms of this fausto-mcluhanesque deal
just so are the mediate appetites sated
Goddess knows I need it,
To love another I've never met in flesh.
It was not my intent to go all sotto voce,
To hold both melody and accompany,
To echo the pounding, the pounding of my own steady throb.

This diode crazy striptease bores me no end,
all these lewd faxes we receive and send.
All I want is a cyberspace donna not so mobile,
virginal and passionate, not a facsimile
of a femme fatale dot-matrixed, gone to seed.
Oh lady of the chips, fulfill my need

There is no one to return your love,
no Venus to aid you from above.
It matters not how hard you seek
no love awaits for thee, hopeless geek.

What's next in hypertext please be slow and sweet,
untrammeled by hang-ups, by nerdiness unvexed.
As we four wander the by-ways and back alleys
mapped for us on the information highways.

I long for a heavy-humming master-ess
To rid us of this schlepping slurping static-y insect!
If one pauses to dissect its too-vivid forebodings,
Perhaps to pluck its buzzing wings like a budding tomboy,
One hears it deploy no notes,
For it plays no part in life's quiet cacophony.
Visit us, cyborg, and silence this brine-spilled oracular dolt!

Woe, woe, to you, a thousand times woe
Love does not down the Information highway go.
The software comes through the wire
whether the PC survives or dies,
Internet's barbed words in wire and sighs,
Stacheldraht des XXI jahrhundert
in gefangenschaft einsames herz
Alambre de espino del siglo XXI.
Barbed wire of the future cries.
Barbed wire of the future sighs.

The Internet is seen in its guise of a possible
threat to human freedom, a tool of fascism. The opera
sings of existential angst and fear of nihilistic
communication pervading the Net. The humans lose their buoyancy
and hope for meaningful communication and perfect companionship.

Bleak, bleak, bleak is my life.
Shall I ever find the cyberwife?
I do so strive to find my certain cyber-soulmate,
whose keys can click with mine on a virtual first date.
But will I discover my lasting partner, a love archival,
Or instead the doub'ly disguised e-mails of my archrival?

Cyber control and privacy issues are
addressed. Can loving meaning be sent through the wires? Or
is the possibility of cyber deception too great for the
humans to trust the messages they read on their monitors?

You have received at last Love's final veto,
and sex will not serve to power up your magneto.
Unless you seek, you can't compile.
Your fear will freeze you for a while.
I remind you of the method how, sir,
You can't carouse without a browser.

Controlling issues take on a personal confrontational
note as the Oracle gets into .rez's mind instilling
doubt and fear.

This crucible of sound and light
calls us out in cries of night
to refract, recontextualize,
each given name, each birth disguise.
Social categories in co-creations
of gender, sexuality and desire,
mask in femme and of relations
engendered transmother and transire.

I type your name, I load your page,
invoke the daimons of our age,
and wonder, as I reach your view,
if I can meet the real you,
if you, in flesh instead of fire,
could ever sense my dream's desire.

Dreamspace, the bridge between soul and eros,
is pondered by the intellectual, bookish.

For you there is no whore of Babylon
nor secret entrance into Love' pylon.

A distillation of loveless loners
attracts resisting mutual donors
who occupy virtual spaces full of conceit
then with all ten fingers burning, reach for delete.
I freeze, before Cyberspazio, in some Khyber Pass
between hardware and printer, and a half-full wineglass,

The screen is filled, page after web-bed page,
with the longing of B-cup, obviously underage.
Oh! But of B-cup filled with such balanced insight!
a fighter, compassionate, critical and bright.

Weep, you fool, weep your eyes out
No partner for thee, despite your cybershout!
Your posts show you as comedians
your love life reveals you as tragedians.

This thread of time and space we weave
digital uncertainty. We sift and sieve
a domain of intellect and higher thought.
The vibrant community we always sought
lacks only the touch of typing fingers
whereby, wistfully through sweet transmissions, we linger
longing for our print to take shapely form
to be our otherself, loving and warm.

Above the node-to-node interplay of plot
indistinct clouds loom, heavy and hot
portending fulfillment of human dream
circumventing, transcending this inner scream.

Some omniscient presence watches over us
awe-inspiring, huge, tremendous
soon, coded curtains will part and reveal
the ultimate being, flesh and steel.
Imagination does not bond it,
universal truth, love, heart, wit.


Cyberspace Lost Aria

Of Cyborg's First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Wire, whose electric taste
Brought life into the Net, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Repress us, and regain the blissful PC,
Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret laptop
Of Apple, or of Sun, didst inspire
That Programmer, who first wrote the chosen Code,
In the Beginning how the virtual Heav'n and Earth
Rose out of the ArpaNet. I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous Post,
That with no editing intends to soar
Above the cyberspace, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in DOS or Rhyme,
That to the utopia of this great argued Net
I may assert benev'lent Anarchy
And supersede the ways of Gods and men.

The Cyborg is introduced as a historical outgrowth of human belief in Heaven, right and wrong, scientific exploration, poetry (Milton), life, and pursuit of things yet unattempted. This powerfully evocative aria creates a "realm" from which the rest of the opera action moves from and returns to as the lonely humans reach out into unknown vistas of ciberspazio seeking simple meaning for their questions, only to encounter a richness
of experience that leads them off to attractive hypertextual seductions.


In a convergence of the humans' songs the screen is raised
revealing a large lava lamp emitting a deep purple glow.

The techno-part of the opera has been portrayed via the ORACLE. The humans are blocked by the usurpation of the demon-demigod ORACLE. In this scene we see the humans dealing with reflections of themselves via the clones BUT . . .Are the clones A.I.? (artificial intelligence) or nefarious propagations of the ORACLE? Or What?

Come to me
come to me
travel sacred wired lines

speak to me
speak to me
and bless me with your synaptic signs

come to me
come to me
come to me
read the network of our minds

your heart's a million miles away
I can feel your soul, has much to say
while gaia cries beneath our feet
i feel your presence in cool electric heat
i touch your soul and paralyze
reflections of our dreams fill the misty skies
and when you send to me the essence of your inside
we meet in sacred space, our atoms do collide.

come to me
come to me
travel sacred wired signs

speak to me
speak to me
and caress me with your keystroked lines
come to me
come to me
and host my everlasting hope

Deconstructing work under construction,
Reconstructing words over constructed.
Infrastructure is the overstructure
As the Uberstruktur is to the UberICH.

Where is that rare one who personifies the magical shift?
Where is the s/he whose heart heals each rift?

Each day I send forth my most secret aches
each night I read my mail as my heart quakes

No lovers, you're all alone, no one's out there...
There is only you and the machine.

I cast my words upon the net
In hopes their meaning will beget...
From the war machine of genocide,
Love can happen when systems collide.

Pensando navigando
Che la mia identita' poteva essere multipla lo sapevo gia';
questo lo provai nell'onirico spazio e allo stesso modo nella realta'.
Allora mi chiedo cosa stia accadendo nel ciberspazio:
e' davvero come un'immensa, bella corte
dove la nostra personalita' non occupa poi cosi' tanto spazio,
anzi direi che 'l'io non e', rispetto agli altri, molto forte;
almen per adesso questo riscontro
essendo aperte nelle Reti quasi tutte le porte.

Ecco perche' mi auguro un felice incontro
tra filosofi, politici, artisti, sociologi e gli altri tutti
in maniera tale che non si crei un grande scontro;
gia' nel reale mondo son troppi i lutti,
aumentando ogni di' l'angoscia dell'uman viaggio.

Dunque avverto i Potenti tutti
che di qualsiasi guerra sempre forniscon foraggio:
"siate meno egoisti, lasciateci viver bene",
altrimenti noi comuni virtuali vi farem un duro
sabotaggio. 1

No lovers you're all alone...
There is no one to return your love...
There's only you and the machine!

During the following chorus the lava lamp pulsates ominously. Inside the lamp globs of liquid rise and change shape occasionally revealing actions of a multi-limbed humanoid within. Green lights flicker in the interior of the lamp. The messages that the humans circulate are being collected in the central processing unit of the lava lamp.

Contained Dance: "Slaves of the Lava Lamp"

From inside the lamp

Enter, interaction in digital cache,
Double you, double you, double you slash slash slash
org-ascii- DOS
dot dot dot slash
org-ascii-typing one another we ask,
face to new face in-outer net cast.

A chorus of voices from the lamp begins to respond to each human's song.

The audience is wondering who is behind the clones. . . the ORACLE? the cyborg? are they mirrors of the humans or are they some other entity?

BOOKISH's Lament Aria

I design a Venetian gondola with code on the Moo,
And I wonder what eyes are there to receive its spectacular view,
Will it be that mind so wise, so vast, so informed?
My equal, my soulmate, who shares my sense of scorn?
For one thing my years upon years of study have taught
pleasures of mind, body and soul have no price, cannot be bought
for the creators of modern capital and material wealth
could never co-opt minds' imagination despite their
greed and stealth.

Comments: Bookish and his clone will continue to establish empathy and move beyond the "net" into the psyche-matrix, the "net part of the psyche." Bookish and his clone reach for high ideal concepts that love can be expressed through symbols, poetics and romantic extensions using electronic networked data exchange.

BOOKISH'S CLONE calls from inside the lamp
bookish, I have seen it before
and so have you,
it stands at your door
and suggests you don't move.
It invites itself in
and finds a place to sit,
It removes its coat
and all, bit by bit.
You don't know what to say
so you don't say a word.
And it sings your song
like a sweet little bird.

ORACLE (randomly generated responses)
No one's out here...
No one at home ...
There is no one to return your love...

For what are we in virtu'l cyberspace?
From where springs our desire to interface?
What connects lips with RS232?
And how can thee with binary us woo?
Do we dare handshake your serial line?
Or make journey to protocols shrine,
And trust in the reliability,
Of fabled standard TCP/IP?
In our twisted circuit of hearts desire,
The music calls from this digital choir.

SANDY'S CLONE calls from inside the lamp
At first a binary polyphony,
Gives way to parallel symphony.
Where multi-processing melodies form,
we're born to data to the CPU . . .

to what end send email?
this whole broad net can scarce compete
with a touch firm and female
these online flings, they are ok
for a little change of pace
but it's a hard to make much hay
with a girl from cyberspace
of course, there's little mess
and very little risk
when you uncompress
and i insert my disk

turn it on
and turn me on
dance in electronic air
dance with me 'till the morning calls
and swallows my despair.

.REZ'S CLONE calls from inside the lamp
turn it on
and turn me on
surf in a electronic sea
surf with me and you will see
how much i really care.

cut and paste it,
can you taste it?
the signal in the air?

Woe woe to you, a thousand times woe. . .
Barbed wire of the future cries. . .
You, the machine. . .

Comments: An ineffectual attempt by the ORACLE to regain control as the clones and the humans become increasingly attracted to each other.

ALL CLONES call from inside the lamp

Begat, endowed, by hope and fear,
the thought we thought had brought us here
wraps, entraps, and keeps the same
each person with a single name.

My hands are so worn
in this heart I am torn.
Night airs, automated sonnet soothes
our loneliness it proves or removes?

Joyous be the cursor's beat
when we long for touch,
and in some cyber-meet
we find memories to clutch

ORACLE starts his confusing comments. He is interrupted by the
opening of the lava lamp. This is the ORACLE's last stand. The ORACLE is a humanoid in costume. As s/he looses coherent ability the costume s/he is built with fragments and becomes hollow shells of sound and lights. This is the Oracle's last stand, the audience remains confused about the Oracle/Clone connection.

You are, sister of mine, gone all horny
from an internet interlaced with the porny
concoctions of chipped-out brains and grid-dipped
voltages where some of the connections slipped.

Multimedia interlude depicts lava lamp contents shifting from globs of text to human forms.

Act II


1.Pensando Navigando - aria by Claudio Parrini

Translation from the Italian text by Professor William McCraw:

Thinking, navigating (making my way)
That my identity can be made multiple (multiplied) I already know;
I have tried (sought) this in oneiric space and at the same stime in reality.
Now I ask myself (wonder) what is happening in cyberspace:
is it really like an immense, beautiful court
where our personalitity (personhood, self) doesn't then fill so much space,
rather I would say that I am not, compared to others, in this way very strong;
at least for now this comparison
having opened in the Network almost all the doors.
And this is why I wish for myself a happy meeting
between philosophers, political leaders, artists, social thinkers and all the others
in such a way that no one will beleive it a great clash:
already in the real world there is too much mourning;
making greater every day the pain and anxiety of the human journey.
Therefore I give notice to all the Great Powers
that for every war always they furnish the fodder (cannon fodder):
"Be less absorbed in yourselves, let us live well,"
otherwise we virtual communities will launch sabotage against you.

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