Honoria in Ciberspazio

Scene 1: Humans Navigating

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

ORACLE
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

HONORIA
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?

BOOKISH
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!

.REZ
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.

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

ORACLE
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.

Comments:
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?

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

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

SANDY
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.

REZ
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

ORACLE
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.

HONORIA
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.

SANDY
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!

ORACLE
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.

Comments:
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.

.REZ
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?

Comments:
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?

ORACLE
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.

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

SANDY
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.

BOOKISH
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.

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

ORACLE
Ha!
For you there is no whore of Babylon
nor secret entrance into Love’ pylon.

HONORIA
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,

BOOKISH
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.

ORACLE
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.

HONORIA
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.

ORACLE

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.

Comments:
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.