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A stem, in music, is decontextualized sound. Just add context: transplant it like an organ, sprinkle it like seasoning, splice it into a song, interpretation the ligase. It renders collaboration inherent, inevitable, and legible—almost audible, as in those viral TikToks that track a sample’s recontextualization across decades and genres.
Art without legible collaboration is meaningless at best, destructive at worst. What use is the myth of the lone artist, except deception? It takes a village—duh. This is always the starting point for my work: that my work is always a starting point.
My 30-book series called Sensorium is divided into three parts—Euphorium, Dysphorium, and Dystopium—of ten books each. Each book contains about one short story, a handful of poems that overwrite the Book of Genesis, and one-thirtieth of a two-plot novel, the first a sci-fi riff on Romeo and Juliet in free verse, the second a coming-of-age story set in a dystopia a few years ahead of our own. Each part of each book is a stem: a starting point. The series is a gift to the world, published into the public domain, for anyone (everyone?) to recontextualize as they please.
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