Published as part of the Digital Outlawed exhibition catalogue.
The Remembering has begun.
Strange pictures streak across my eyes. Things, people, places, lights. Sounds I don’t recognise.
It’s happening all the time.
I’m somewhere I have never been. Is it long ago? People are everywhere. All in a large room together. A wall of sound inflates around me, squashing my lungs from the outside, filling me with panic.
There’s a voice.
“Yeah, yep, totally. I mean, it’s not as if I no idea – ” a glitch, a tremor snags in the throat opposite me, like a bad vocoder, wavering.
I think – I know her. But it’s slippery, to remember.
“What you don’t seem to understand is that we really have no choice.”
Her voice is deepens, it’s flatter. A man’s voice.
Smiling tightly, I glance down at a bowl of rice, and I feel a hollow drunken lurch. A strange cascade of flickering squares slips over the lip of the bowl in front of me. Pulsing, they snap back into translucent white grains.
“As you know, you’ve been with Freedom United for the past 5 years, and on behalf of our organisation I would like to officially acknowledge your lifetime of service.”
Voices ripple in unison.
“We release you from your position, effective immediately. It is with great pleasure we present you with the honourable Time To Sleep.”
And I plunge, slipping away.
The deep blackness floods through me like a warm drug, washes over, into me.
“Do you understand?”
I can no longer feel my lips, and my tongue lies flaccid against my teeth. Far-away chopsticks, coughing, laughing, clattering.
“Hello! Are you ok? Are you even listening to me? Can you hear me?
Hey! People are looking…”
Fairytale for the Future
Its ok. Go back to sleep.
… You can relax.
I’ll tell you a story; I don’t expect you to really understand it. It doesn’t matter.
This is story about greyness. It is about concrete, steel, of rotting guts in the evening. Of wool rasping on skin, and the damp whinge of sweat. The smell.
Once, people lived in small enclaves – they called them cities, or towns – made of wood, brick, steel, concrete, squares of glass stacked on top of each other. In a way, these places were a bit like The Camps, with roads that roared through the centre, cars and trains spitting and punching their way down the street.
Sometimes people clustered in small dwellings, arming themselves against their neighbours, fencing off scraps of land. Identical places they called houses.
They used crude boxes to talk to each other in far away places, they used them to share stories, they used them to love, for sex. They used them to hate.