CryptoCunterie: Each Rock a Word (2021) by InHerInterior (Virginia Barratt & Francesca da Rimini) with Lexi Mossop

‘CryptoCunterie: each rock a word’ (2021)

Performance lecture/experimental interview.

Sound, colour

duration: 8.37min

By In Her Interior (Virginia Barratt & Francesca da Rimini) with Lexi Mossop

For MoneyLab #X – Economythologies, In Her Interior animated Spore, Spine of Wonder, and Khaos, and created a short video with Virginia, Francesca and Alexandra Mossop vocally inhabiting the 3 avatars. The mood is prophetic, recalling perhaps a scene from Michael Cacoyannis’s 1962 film of Euripides’ tragedy Electra.

Notes on context, co-creation and constraint-based writing


The impetus for writing Cryptographic Country: each rock a word was an invitation from Nancy Mauro-Flude and Denise Thwaites (Co-convenors) and Alexandra Mossop (Publication Coordinator) to participate in MoneyLab #X – Economythologies. This multisite event and online artistic program (2020-21) aim to build ‘a transdisciplinary research network on alternative economies that stretches across our planetary archipelago; Australia, Asia, the Pacific and beyond’.

In Her Interior (IHI) generated and executed a series of writing constraints or rules. Rule 1 instructed Virginia Barratt, Francesca da Rimini and Alexandra Mossop each to select 5 quotes sparked by MoneyLab’s themes such as homo ecologicus. The quotes were starters in a process mirroring how yeast added to flour and water produces a ferment for bread dough, or a SCOBY added to tea and sugar produces kombucha. Words were gleaned from Maria Alyokhini, Silvia Federici, Nancy Mauro-Flude & Denise Thwaites, Aristea Fotopoulou, Inte Gloerich, David Graeber, Laura Lotti, Ursula K Le Guin, Christian Marazzi, David Orrell, Marion Sharples, Anna Tsing, Paolo Virno, and Kate Wright.

Writing Constraints / Rules

In the end IHI did not faithfully follow all the rules that they created, because the text began to take on a life of its own. However, all rules, including those that fell by the wayside, are listed below. Individual lines were attributed, albeit somewhat randomly, or intuitively, to 3 avatars or characters−Spore, Spine of Wonder, and Khaos. (These rules can be adapted freely by other writers for their own projects.)

Cryptographic Country Rules

(after Rule #1, follow the subsequent rules in any order that appeals to you)

  1. Each writer chooses 5 quotes from anywhere that relate or respond to Economythologies.
  2. Assemble all quotes in 1 online document.
  1. Respond to each quote with 5 words.

Rule 3.5: Respond to each quote with as many words as you like.

  1. Use the voice of SPINE OF WONDER (from the Eromanga Sea) to comment on economies and mythologies.
  2. Place these voices before the 5 words you wrote earlier.
  3. Print the page and cut out each quote on sheet of paper.
  4. Shuffle 3 times – blindfolded – like a pack of cards – and lay out sequentially in new order.
  5. Choose a book from your own library and select 1 sentence on page 33. Place it surreptitiously as a coda to 1 of the 15 original quotes. Perhaps no-one will notice it as a ‘foreigner stone’ in the river of words.
  6. Silently spin the roulette wheel of fortune 3 times at
    Swap the outcome (1 sentence) for 1 sentence in each of 3 quotes from the 15 quotes.
  1. Write a line backwards for KHAOS.
  1. Wrap words in rice paper or any thin edible thing and swallow at night for 3 nights.
  2. Cut the fuck out of any rule that you don’t want to follow.
  3. Find Greek myths and poem fragments about the KHAOS character, mine 3 lines relevant to Economythologies, and scatter them like cornflower seeds across the quotes.
  4. Start chunking the quotes to 1 of the 3 characters – SPINE OF WONDER, KHAOS, SPORE.
  5. Rearrange these voiced quotes in what might seem a logical flow.
  6. Start exchanging groups of 2, 4 or 6 words from the original quotes with groups of 2, 4 or 6 words from different quotes.
  7. Repeat the swap process a second time with 3, 5 or 7 words.
  8. Find IHI’s Experimentalities Golden Iterations script; V and F choose and perform 1 rule each and write the rule in this rule list.
  9. Repeat the swap process a third time with a prime number and perform on only 3 quotes.
  10. Throughout the process disintegrate versions of the text; for example, run through software.
  11. Cut out all bibliographic references.
  12. Excise 13 or 17 pronouns−normal pronouns and possessive pronouns.
  13. Macerate texts freely.
  14. Excise 13 conjunctions.
  15. Sing lines of Icelandic lullaby Sofðu Unga Ástin Mín throughout the script.


In Her Interior (Virginia Barratt and Francesca da Rimini) co-create poems, multimedia works and site-specific installations. Their constraint-based experimentation often involves accomplices–local land custodians, sound artists, birdwatchers, writers, philosophers, gleaners. They have performed and exhibited in galleries, repurposed industrial sites and theatres in Helsingør, London, Berlin, New York, Graz, Adelaide, Byron Bay, Sydney and Melbourne. Collaborations include B.A.B.S., The Darkening: Language lined with flesh lined with language, Songs for Skinwalking the Drone (a commissioned libretto), Hexing the Alien, echolalia: golden iterations, The Tender Alembicians Suite, The Sorrows of the Mulloway, and Tell me what you see outside.

Figure 1. Spore. Image credit: Virginia Barratt.
Figure 2 Spine of Wonder Image credit: Virginia Barratt.

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