N. Katherine Hayles’s semiotics of virtuality is a heuristic device she uses to map her posthuman concept as a literary phenomenon. Seaback adopts this framework to map posthumanism within different dimensions of electroacoustic composition, illuminating relationships between embodied complexities, representational absence, informational patterns, and noise. The framework also functions as a creative springboard toward musical expression that considers the computer for both its productive and reproductive capacity, with an ear toward the extrinsic significance of materials as related to their modes of production and the metaphoric networks to which they give rise.
Fundamentally, the semiotics of virtuality explicate the dual potential of digital sound to function as an idiomatic voice (exploiting the foundational aspects of digital encoding), and as a hyperreal window into the physical, acoustic world. From a technical standpoint, there are approaches to digital sound design predicated on abstract, informational processes uniquely suited to the computer. Conversely, and more commonly, there are approaches predicated on representation of the acoustic world.
An appealing notion to Seaback as a composer is that creative or destructive interventions at different levels of the digital audio encoding hierarchy affect the degree of success or failure for the medium to carry & transmit messages. Furthermore, an informational ontology can be extrapolated to musical forms and sonic metaphor—opening possibilities to dramaturgies oscillating between ‘sound as acoustic phenomenon’ and ‘sound as informational entity’. It is this dynamic interplay between the posthuman polarities of presence/absence (materiality) and pattern/noise (information) that Seaback wishes to explore via the medium of electroacoustic composition.