A Protocol of Throats

Dramatis Personae

  • EPIGLOTTIS, a leaf-shaped hacker.
  • PHARYNX, a god of betrayal disguised as a subservient servant.
  • LARYNX, a siren perennially covered in concrete.
  • TRACHEA, a parasite attached to LARYNX.


On the face of the cliff, a ghost painted in broad square strokes. Above it, EPIGLOTTIS appears under the rain. It is closely followed by a diamond-studded PHARYNX. Day or night, it matters little.

EPIGLOTTIS: Will you remember the cursed information that decants inside the castle of linear narrative experiences? Little deaths, lo and behold, a self-hating limb caresses a cow’s skeleton still bloodied and red. Another hit, another puff, now with a bit more faciality.

PHARYNX: If I’m somebody else, it does not mean I do not see.

EPIGLOTTIS: You think you know me, but what you know of me is just…an auto-tuned angel of concrete. Have you fallen, lately? Didn’t think so.

PHARYNX: It is dark here. How can you scan? Tell me: how can you scan without knowing what you are?

EPIGLOTTIS: With difficulty…have you heard of metaphors? The political technology upon which rhetoric is built?

PHARYNX: As a matter of fact, I have. Mother taught me from a young age to seek shelter helter-skelter. Hastily, I mean.

EPIGLOTTIS: [Pointing to a raindrop, then to the sky.] To shelter is to admit the fear of the black hole. And of the white wall. Never do so, never! These little deaths are wont to chase after you. They smell fear, like a multitudinous shark – a gameshark, if you will.

PHARYNX: Indeed. The reality is that speech is far too gorgeous, don’t you think?

EPIGLOTTIS: Quiet! I am trying to think!

Dots of light dart around the screen.

EPIGLOTTIS: I said quiet!

PHARYNX: I am like an empty file.

The dots of light disappear.

EPIGLOTTIS: I do not appreciate that tone. Like an old dial-up modem falling prey to a teenager’s hunger for anime tiddies.

PHARYNX: I meant no disrespect. [whispering] And yet the words that dance around and in-between us are treasonous: they are to be believed solely on the level of their intended meaning. They should have no right to a name, and yet…[aloud] I think you should not touch that.

EPIGLOTTIS hunches over a smartphone, pretending it didn’t listen. It repeatedly types スマホ on the device.

PHARYNX: [whispering] chosen to ignore me? Suit yourself, my time will come! [aloud] The forecast says the storm will be over in just a few more terabytes. Amber skies in your amber eyes! Cicadas are an incomparable delicacy, I shall procure some at once.

PHARYNX leaves. EPIGLOTTIS does not seem to care and is now scrolling through a newsfeed.

EPIGLOTTIS: For a life worth living…what I would not do for a disaster worth seeing. The fraud of the polity was ever so, since summer first was a raging hellfire of offensive code injections. Oh, I know these are empty words, buzz and fuss and nothing more, but what is a girl to do? Anal tranquility, oh, if only I could have it.

Pleasant and merry sounds of deglutition can be heard in the distance.

EPIGLOTTIS: What is this heavenly call? Look, I have untitled goosebumps all over my body. Peace was never an option, but beauty is always the prime directive. Hark! The sound draws nearer! Let me hide, quickly! And I hope that useless PHARYNX keeps its ganglia in a purely existential manner.

LARYNX approaches, singing. TRACHEA dangles from its behind and leaves a trail of mucus.

LARYNX: [throat singing] And the nauseated handshakes that battle against each other / finally fell to the ground exhausted like brothers / but still whispering threats. / ‘Psst! For exclusive scoops on jade eggs / Upgrade to a premium, a premium account!’ / ‘Press like and subscribe! / Terms and conditions may apply.’ / It was epic and grand, / the clash of different models of broadband.

LARYNX stops singing and sniffs the air.

LARYNX: I am hopeful that the pleasure principle is reliable. I long for a worthy partner, star-studded morsel of life, delicate palate cleanser of LCD displays.

TRACHEA: Your wish is my command. An alias for sudo, a programmatic 下さい, if you please.

LARYNX: Do not speak out of turn when serial processes are at hand, partially downloaded Caliban. Enamel sycophant, your voice is grating even when this whole place smells of lilies and aniseed and gruesomely bad practices. [singing with its head voice] What is a girl to do / at 4:00 AM / when she is riddled with inconsistencies? / Photoshop me and you / in an image macro at 4:00PM, / next day we’re printed on intergalactic crypto-currencies.

TRACHEA: [singing in a very low voice] A crooked number nine, sugar-free, / of course, my queen of elegy. / The separation between the hemispheres of the face / – always the face, always the face – / will do wonders for my bass. Tracheoplasty: / I keep it nasty.

TRACHEA and LARYNX: [singing together] Constructive social efforts / now matter how alert / can’t pin me down, / can’t bring me down! / The blob runs my syndicate / and I like guesstimates. / Tracheoplasty: / I keep it nasty.

EPIGLOTTIS: [whispering] I am smitten and I am in love. Or horny, which is about the same. My dark pattern has no meaning if I do not employ it in a beautiful manner. The beautiful room is empty no more.

PHARYNX returns carrying a flesh bag filled with grey stones.

PHARYNX: Master, I am returned. And who might you be!?

LARYNX: Oh my! It is you I have been searching for my whole life. Morsel of love, my other as noise.

PHARYNX: Are you lost in the liminal junkspace of existence?

LARYNX: I am the concrete slab to which undersea data cables are affixed.

PHARYNX: Well, yes, I guess that’ll do.

TRACHEA: yo, shit’s on fire. It wanna eat you alive. Run.


LARYNX: Do not pay attention to this feeble-minded parasite. Crash inside me like a memory leak.

EPIGLOTTIS jumps out of its hideout, enraged. LARYNX screams.

EPIGLOTTIS: Foul program of arborescent rationalisation! Keep your paws out of this creature of love.


EPIGLOTTIS: Yes, blue angel of all that is true and all that is false.

TRACHEA: But I am simply a parasite, eating the juxtaposed faeces of network interfaces and sleepwalking devices.

EPIGLOTTIS: And yet you reek of beauty, more than the thing you are attached to! Cum on me if you want to know what love is.

TRACHEA: I want you to show me.

Whilst the others are distracted, LARYNX begins eating PHARYNX alive.


LARYNX: They are not paying attention. Disruptive economics of a past age of attention. Watch those distant offensive lights, it will make everything nicer.

PHARYNX: But they are unidentified!

LARYNX: Indeed. Oh, how delightful you are, and I’m just at the crust!

PHARYNX’s body cracks open, revealing it is completely empty, save for a small blue magatama.

LARYNX: Well, that’s disappointing.

EPIGLOTTIS: Be silent, evil demon. Love is happening here.

The intro for an undisclosed anime starts playing. It starts with a choir before funneling into j-pop.

TRACHEA: It’s going to start! Adversarial group of dancing networks abound, I shall be free from love and beauty. Grab the popcorn and hush!

The three start dancing together whilst PHARYNX’s body dissolves into the background.


  • Metahaven. 2019. ‘Sleep Walks the Street, Part 2’. E-Flux Journal, November 2019. https://www.e-flux.com/journal/104/299912/sleep-walks-the-street-part-2/.
  • Peaches. 2015. Vaginoplasty. Rub. I U She Music.
  • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. 2011. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Repr. London: Continuum.