FICTION: Glitch Operative

My anatomy is rendered onto the luminous surface of the monitor. Simplified into rigid cuts of meat. Chuck. Shank. Round. The body, in media, is a sacred heifer. It is the cow that cannot be slaughtered. Someone asks the value of opportunistic organisms. I don’t know the answer… Searing each steak on the hot-black of a grill… When the body is rendered onto a virtual plane, not only is it simplified, it is stream-lined. It locomotes with greater efficiency. The brain moves with instantaneous reflexes. Operates with uncorrupted memory and an increased capacity for visual information. Of course certain elements are not the better for it. An inevitable dysmorphia sets on. That separation between past and present self. There is an accurate transference of sensory input. It doesn’t necessarily feel different. The environment is more rudimentary. Low-poly textures… I can see each face of the round. The uncurves of the nonagon… More, it feels as if the neural structures of the brain have expanded or that they have more fully saturated the grooves of the gray matter (phantom-brain).

Traversing the simplified zones of the virtual is a difficult task to adjust to. Earlier operatives performed a kind of spelunking. Excavating procedurally-generated zones. Typically low-CPU towers. Made up of basic floors–square rooms connected via rectangular hallways. Now the landscape has become more naturalistic. The virtual is a place of uneven and asymmetrical topography. The faces of the polygon are rendered highly visible. I can feel my foot crossing the threshold from one face to another. Stepping from grass-texture to grass-texture.

Here, the text is an object–an architectural artifact. It is an instrument to incite summoning. I don’t know of what. Golem or servant or maybe a throne. The text is a tool. Something that you must learn to use and eventually master. The mastering of a text does not come from the efficiency of the writer, but from the broad function of the user. The reader is set to conjure whatever allusions might rest in the potentialities of language. In the case of the virtual landscape, I find that the text has taken on certain non-euclidean qualities. It is capable of doing / containing a kind of arcana that it did not previously have the space for. Storage.

I travel through an endless landscape until I come upon a small cave–an anomaly of the procedurally-generated topography. I crawl into the maw and rest for a while. Looking out as the hexcodes change from one shade of green to another. The body’s interface is not exactly capable of rendering these textures true, but I can analyze the data. I can look at the raw information and interpret it. Perhaps create an image of it in my brain. Think about what this place would look like if the processors had more power, if they could render visual what is written.

I carry the text from this entry-point (the incipit of rendering) to another location. I do not know where. I am guided by the latent navigation of the virtual-brain. There is something coded within this body (facsimile) that takes me towards a set-destination. There, I will use this text. Glitch Operative. An encrypted vomit of technobabble. Strings of obtuse nouns. Words that don’t need to exist yet. Or that have come before their time. Before their meaning has had a chance to arrive.

I do not sleep. When the hexcodes return to bright green, I know that it is day again.

The interface supplanted into my dysphoric body is weak. Its FOV is limited. I cannot see too far into the distance. Fog conceals the culling of landmasses. I can see hints of their conception, but their full reveal is never surprising. I have not yet walked off of a cliff or into a mountainside. I do not know what would happen if I were to fall into the void. If I would die or wake up at some kind of checkpoint. Or maybe appear somewhere else entirely. Or remain in the superposition of a falling-body.

The text that I am carrying is nicknamed, Glitch Operative. Glitch Operative is a text-program made with the intention of capitalizing on your ineptitude… This is inscribed on the back cover. It is a quote attributed to the text itself. I feel like I am transporting the onset of an apocalyptic event.

In the cave, I suffered a series of hallucinatory dreams, playing through the heat of the interface. The subtle gesturing of particles growing until they form full excitations in the wave. Marking coordinates across the landscape. The coordinates form a face. The face is looking at me and trying to speak. I cannot understand what it wants to say. The words spill from its mouth. Onto the floor. Before they have fully-formed. Proto-utterance seisuring. Hexcodes flicker from green to magenta to cyan and back again. I feel like I am being shown the building blocks of something. The landscape changes three times. I experience an extreme nausea as I lose my place in space. I feel like I am floating in the vacuum. Maybe I am a speck of dust. Or a tumor severed from its roots.

I continue to traverse the low-poly hills of the virtual. Methodically navigating each textured-face, inspecting their composition, looking for distortions. Looking for anomalies in their arrangement or tactility. But all of my steps feel so certain.

There are no more caves for X miles. X is an unknown distance. I do not know how long I have been walking. The passage of time is subject to uneven dilation. In silence, I play the longue duree.

Glitch Operative is a text-program made with the intention of capitalizing on your ineptitude… The text is a tool for catalyzing some kind of action. Or for provoking the onset of a certain desirable result. That doesn’t mean anything. Glitch Operative is an instrument for conjuring a digital kind of occultism. The potent formation of a new bibliomancy. In which the incoherency of a text is rendered valuable. Your inability to understand is rendered ideal.

Glitch Operative Excerpt: literature vomiting photo-spatial modulator vomiting panopticon climbing bitumen in poem is corpsicum rearranging bodily-zone screaming aviary of eros outside god is ritual sacrifice in vanity becoming zeitgeist watching interface is microstructure watching anterior fixture with praxis to labor collapsing terror watching hellscape and column of bibliomancy climbing tufts at fear to appendage is grotesque at zona along mouth to dimension of oration becoming intelligentsia for omnipresence climbing followers climbing meta-textual vomiting void vomiting meta-textual in scalp screaming fire is poem vomiting speaker consuming

New information and thought is spawned from the meaningless voices of the machine. Some might view this as an ultimately nihilistic view, but I do not. I think that it is powerful. To take a gesture without power and to convert it into something powerful. To convert nothing into something. Meaning is a plant that must be seeded and fed and grown. It is something we must take care to sustain. It is not an inherent inner-mechanism of the object. Glitch Operative is something that can be planted into the ground and used to spawn new mediums. New studies. A vine crawling into the expanded field and latching onto what is as of yet unknown. Do you see the potentialities of this mechanism?

Glitch Operative Excerpt: omnipresence was subject with real outside bioplastic are meditation watching holderlin and hadean zone metabolizing abyssal-heifer and column for extracted tongue was gut of language-source digesting garments along archive entering ritual sacrifice on thingness decaying into fragile rearranging babel rearranging recognition watching processed materials along horizon atop desire watching space at suffocation along technology are optical tech is critical screaming poem screaming dune-script

There is a boldness that can be admired in the random gestures of the machine’s procedure. Phrases can be isolated and worshipped. The text speaks in a droning whisper. You must hold your ear to the ground if you intend to find what you are looking for. A single thread identical to those suspended around it.

Glitch Operative Dissection: … [bitumen in poem is corpsicum] … [praxis to labor collapsing] … [meta-textual vomiting void vomiting meta-textual] … [god is ritual sacrifice in vanity] … [fear to appendage is grotesque at zona] … [extracted tongue was gut of language-source] … [optical tech is critical screaming poem screaming dune-script] … [hadean zone metabolizing abyssal-heifer] …

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I do not know where I am intended to plant this text. What kind of newness will spawn from it. I continue. I walk over every face of the polygonal land mass. I don’t feel tired. My mind drifts in various directions. It stretches its tendrils in a great circumference around me. Latching onto any possible point of intrigue. But it finds nothing.

Although this landscape is more advanced than its predecessors, it is no more interesting. It is still empty. It is still endless and made from a repetitive set of building blocks. I find the relationship between it and the text intriguing. I find the relationship between it and my body disturbing.

I still feel like this body and I are one in the same. I do not feel the intense dysmorphias that I have been warned about. I feel a kind of melding between myself and the machine. What I imagine a cyborg eventually feels after its cybernetic components have burrowed into the flesh. Or perhaps not. This new ontology weaves inward. I am not an organism dressed in the inorganic. I am an organism that has been (I hope temporarily) converted into something entirely inorganic.

Are the materials of my body procedural as well? Were they generated with the same randomness as this text, as this landscape? I don’t think that this can be the case. How could I so cleanly integrate with the random construction of a machine? Does it spawn from my desire to integrate? I don’t know. There are no answers for now. This frustrates me, but I realize that the answers might not be all that important. I am only hatching this theory as a result of my boredom–as a result of the longevity of this expedition.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

I continue. No caves. No new hexcodes. No new anomalies.

Then something.

There is a minor fluctuation in the hexcode of four polygonal faces. Together they form a jagged plate on the surface of a nearby mound. Their texture is somewhat smoother than the grass. Less complex. It is not haired or feathered. I do not feel the desire to go any further. I feel like I have arrived at something of importance. I do not know what though.

I set down Glitch Operative on the anomalous surface and begin navigating the microstructures of the text-program. Attempting to move with the fluidity of the language, not to so suddenly hold onto coarse textures or bold phrases. I extract a passage from the greater mechanism and lay it over my interface. I sift my fingers through grains of sand. I want to feel the grooves of every word. To feel each of its microscopic polygonal faces. Its reflections upon the landscape.

Glitch Operative Excerpt: surfaces at digital landscape atop mobility + organic-without-organs entering bitumen along geomancy /followers decaying into day screaming organism /ecdysis watching abyssal-heifer / metonym atop objet petit a metabolizing supra-subject / spectre waslabyrinth decaying into prosthetic rearranging gaping maw + bookness . polygon consuming flagellarearranging dune-script rearranging orbital siphon wasformation becoming prosthetic is spatial of puncture +cellular climbing pilgrimage was catalogue vomitinglabor-source on eros watching fractal along controlrearranging flesh within destruction seducing sun-worship of prosthetic along cruelty are underworld wasbody-esque for union-text + cilia ! holy with limb-textoutside -mancy along eros ? high desert for return atopoutput at mush-self of poem of absence is weight atopappendage metabolizing hexagon climbing maskbecoming neural structure seducing spectacleconsuming semiotic organism of exception of organ aretemporal + cruelty along mantis at processed materials !followers & low-poly textures climbing cell collapsingfiction within extracted tongue is numerology to desertwithin holderlin .

Glitch Operative Dissection: … [spectacleconsuming semiotic organism] … [cruelty along mantis at processed materials !] … [low-poly textures climbing cell collapsingfiction] … [prosthetic rearranging gaping maw + bookness] … [dune-script rearranging orbital siphon] …

I allow cataclysm.

I create the space for a greater anomaly.

The ground illuminates in fractured data.

I summon meaning from the text.

Mike Corrao is the author of three books, Man, Oh Man (Orson's Publishing), Two Novels (Orson's Publishing) and Gut Text (11:11 Press), one chapbook, Avian Funeral March (Self-Fuck), and many short films. Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike's work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. He lives in Minneapolis.

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