Bacterias Argentinas

Originally published at the author's website, "Bacterias Argentinas" was republished in ELO's Electronic Literature Collection 3 in 2016. It is described as "a linguistic-multicellular environment that models the interactions between basic organisms in a virtual ecosystem." In Ortiz's words, it is "a dynamic model of autonomous agents that remix genetic information by consuming one another, and in which genetic information is narrative." In this Flash work, Ortiz explores the question of life as information by mapping linguistic elements onto color-coded 'bacteria' that circulate freely in this bio-linguistic ecology. These bacteria carry changeable fragments of sentences as 'genes'—they exchange genetic material upon accumulating or losing energy through phagocytosis (the feeding method of many microorganisms)—and their feeding redistributes energy in the community, since the consumed bacteria cedes its energy (measured here in terms of the length of its genetic code) to the bacteria that consumes it. In this way, the interaction between bacteria, whose feeding strings together narratives within the bacterial community, provides materia prima for metabolic processes that write narratives and also for the decomposition of bacteria whose genetics are not favorable for the narratives, thus constituting a kind of 'natural' selection. This is, however, an “un-natural” selection process, according to Ortiz, since it models a principle of “infinite injustice” that Ortiz equates with neoliberal political and economic policies. It is significant that the bacteria are 'Argentine,' recalling that country’s devastating 2002 financial crisis. The user can confirm their nationality by moving the cursor over each bacteria, hearing the constructed narratives recited by the Argentine 'storyteller' Edgardo Franzetti."--From Electronic Literature Collection 3 Artist's Website In The NEXT ELMCIP Entry