Linux for Theatre Makers: Embodiment & Nix Operandi
Mauro-Flude, MN, Linux for Theatre Makers: Embodiment & Nix Operandi, FLOSS + Art, OpenMute, A Mansoux and M de Valk (ed), Poitiers, France, pp. 206-223. ISBN 978-1-906496-18-0 (2008) [Research Book Chapter]
My central thread in this text is the Linux computer operating system(OS)#1 and more specifically the use of the command-line interface within this OS and its relationship to embodiment.
Since bodies and machines are often seen in opposition, I suggest that they are better perceived complementary in nature rather than antagonistic. For people who have never worked with command line computing on a standard *nix machine#2, - especially for people who are already conditioned to point and click methods cultivated by Graphical User Interfaces or (GUIs) such as Windows OS or Mac OS #3 - this involves sensitising procedures, (i.e. like one may endure with any new instrumental skill acquisition) for the operation of code as a series of interrelated programs. I will discuss how using the command line interface may be seen to possibly co-constitute one another in everyday life, operating as fields of embodied reflection.
I propose that body, like any organism, is a protean reality in constant flux and in this sense I'd like to consider some of the OS applications from GNU/Linux#4 community, I specifically am referring to the non-proprietary tools that are developed to use in a command line interface. I position myself along the same vain as Martin Hardie who reads 'Unix as consistent with more philosophical descriptions of thinking or of living life itself.'#5 Indeed the spreading development and use of Linux operating systems and free software has political implications, as Alan Sondheim (writes 'linux is, if not art, at least fashion, wearable, at problematic variance with capital (punk for example), useful for intruders, the mouth and tongue for some'. I hope to elucidate about how the regular use of a computational interface, command line or GUI, has deep physiological effects. I question why it is mostly the case that the GUI is presented as a *given* to the regular computer user. Since information feudalism affects not only information society and subsequent issues of ownership, privacy, sharing - clearly seen in the overabundance of patents and agreements to _harness the user_, which in my view, is an attempt to strip humanity of all civil freedoms; what products to use, what plants to grow and consume, what seeds to cultivate, and to an extent our how ability to even engage with molecular living matter is being restricted.