A workshop program supported by Sonic Acts and hosted by W139 Amsterdam
Inspired by the project 'The hypothetical eel-centric atlas on how humans have sex'
A publication created during the workshop can be found here
Interdisciplinary queer designer Noam Youngrak Son presents a hybrid storytelling workshop with Sonic Acts. Taking inspiration from the complex and enduringly obscure reproductive cycle of eels, the workshop involves collaborative and generative writing processes, with participants producing short stories about water that will be combined into a riso-printed zine.
Eels have sex in such an obscure way that no human has ever witnessed their spawning behaviours in nature. Unlike the linear, fragmented, aimlessly extending routes of humans, eels have drawn numerous circular paths overlapping, over generations, accumulating stories in their cells. The aquatic intercourse of eels resembles the collective process of writing that will take place in this workshop. Led by Noam Youngrak Son, an interdisciplinary queer designer, ‘The story-telling eel-orgy’ is a workshop that turns its participants into freshwater eels gathered in the Sargasso Sea to procreate. As sexually aroused eels, every participant in the workshop will produce short stories packed in ‘reproductive cells’, based on their lived (or fictional) experiences around water.
In the workshop, the process of blending bodily histories will be demonstrated using a simple algorithm called a Markov Chain, a model ‘describing a sequence of possible events in which the probability of each event depends only on the state attained in the previous event’. Applied to generative writing, a Markov chain can be used to find the most probable phrase that will come after a specific phrase—in other words, an endless stream of text starting from the first word. The short stories created by participants will become the source materials for the algorithm to construct hybrid myths, like infant eels emerging from the Sargasso Sea. The ‘offspring’ will be published into riso-printed zines at the end of the workshop, which all participants will get to take home.