transCoder: Queer Programming Anti-Language

transCoder is a play on transgender and Lev Manovich’s fifth principle of new media – transcoding. Manovich writes, “to ‘transcode’ something is to translate it into another format.” Within computing and new media, Manovich identifies a “cultural layer” and a “computer layer” affecting each other: “we can say that they are being composited together. [. . .] Cultural categories and concepts are substituted, on the level of meaning and/or language, by new ones that derive from the computer’s ontology, epistemology, and pragmatics.”

transCoder is programmed to transcode between Manovich’s cultural layer and computer layer. Specifically, as queer programming anti-language, transCoder offers libraries rooted in theories of queerness as an attempt to severe ontological and epistemological ties to dominant technologies and interrupt the flow of circulation between heteronormative culture, coding, and visual interface.

Manufactured as a software development kit, transCoder offers experimentation and open-ended construction between queerness, technology, writing, language, theory, and meaning.

transCoder literalizes Galloway and Thacker’s statement, “Today, to write theory means writing code.” Code can morph to endless choices of queer non-essentialism: from Boolean statements transferring to a multitude of states beyond and between true or false, loops fluctuating wildly and unpredictably, if / then logic dissolving into if / if / if / if ad infinitum, small comments between pieces of code becoming digital manifestos for queer empowerment, the “logic” of queer discourse undermining control operators, variables stripped of heterosexist terminologies, to coding structures resembling passages from Butler, Haraway, or Irigaray rather than C++ or Java.