The end, and the beginning


The End, and the Beginning

The End, and the Beginning, 2019, Rachel Clarke (sounds by Stephen Blumberg) image with Jade Jacobs

The End, and the Beginning is a virtual reality sound garden where elements from both the prehistoric and the contemporary world are combined, referencing ancient cosmology, while tying in contemporary environmental themes, such as the sixth mass extinction and climate change. The piece places the viewer in a biosphere, an environment that represents a state of transition: a space where past and present overlap, virtual and physical intermingle, and where potential and actual manifest simultaneously. The biosphere is waiting to come alive, but the viewer is also reminded of the devastation of nature, as they look beyond to an all-too-familiar forest of burned trees. Interaction in this environment is a form of connection, since through the participant’s movements and interactions the environment responds with sound, evolution, and growth. The player/participant's life-bringing actions in the virtual garden mirrors their potential to nuture and sustain life within the real world.

Below, a screen capture of The End, and the Beginning seen through the eyes of a participant inside the environment:

This work work is highly influenced by Donna Haraway’s book, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene in both structure and content. I have deliberately adopted a non-narrative structure for the immersive experience. Haraway talks about the "prick tale of human a tragic story with only one real actor, one real world maker, the hero, this is the man-making tale of the hunter on a quest to kill and bring back the terrible bounty...All others in the prick tale are props, ground, plot space or prey. They don't matter, their job is to be in the way, to be overcome, to be the road, the conduit, but not the traveller, the begetter..." The male-dominated game industry is a microcosm of this world view, where first-person shooters create opportunities for orgiastic killing sprees. As a female working with 3D technologies and game-engines, I’m rejecting the convention of quest-story that is so prevalent in both human history and video game culture, and that often leads to misogynistic and stereotypical representations of gender/race/identity. In The End, and the Beginning each viewer will discover the space differently. Haraway quotes Ursula LeGuin on the need to reject the prick story, and tell a different one..."I seek the nature, subject, words of the other story, the untold one, the life story."