The End: Death in Seven Colours
Citation: Clark, David. “The End: Death in Seven Colours.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 14, 2016. doi:10.20415/hyp/014.f05
Abstract: The End: Death in Seven Colours is a labyrinthine exploration of the deaths of Alan Turing, Sigmund Freud, Princess Diana, Jim Morrison, Judy Garland, Walter Benjamin, and Marcel Duchamp. These deaths are examined through the prism of a vast, encyclopedic media mash-up. The work presents an "exploded view" diagram of our culture's relationship to death and narrative closure. Like a chose-your-own-adventure conspiracy theory, The End weaves together a paranoid meta-text organized around themes of coincidence, concealment, secrecy, the unknown, and the shifting boundary between animal, man and computer in the post-human era.
The End: Death in Seven Colours is an interactive artwork that has a similar feel to previous net artwork I have done in that it uses fragmentary stories of historical figures and real events to weave together an associational montage of facts and provocations. This work moves away from Flash Animation that I had used in previous work and relies instead extensively on found video and audio to tell the stories. In my previous works A is for Apple and 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein, I used narration to drive the story. Although I had written an extensive voiceover for The End, I decided to use (mostly) just found and appropriated materials in the form of a complex mash-up to sustain a larger piece. For me this strategy points towards the "realness" of the histories I am examining and removes the distance that a narrator brings to the work.
For a long time I hadn't decided what tool I was going to use for The End. I finally decided to use Korsakow — a software invented by the German artist Florian Thalhofer — to author the interactive structure. The work is structured into seven "chapters" each corresponding to a colour in the rainbow, a motif that plays out in a number of ways throughout the piece. The audience is invited to surf through the different associational connections between the clips and the colours "bleed" together as associations take the viewer from section to section.