8 Dec 2022
What the Dust
After art installation
The Fading Afterglow of Creation
by Dave Briggs and Jack Squires
A screen sculpts a crumpled mass
in an empty house, a 3-D image that
takes the shape of what could be a heart.
A sci-fi trope: machines outliving us.
We all hope what will survive of us
is not the pile of admin, worthless warranties,
the embarrassing tweet, the spilt coffee,
but our Insta life, our filtered wishes.
The sculpture is not the easy outline
of an emoji, but the complexity
of valves, veins, a possibility
of an organ, a human's engine.
Here, what's left is our digital footprint,
the avatar we taught to fight, scavenge, collect.
Playerless it repeats the same responses, contact
only from bots, a drift of binary lint.
It's the unedited part of us that decided
who we touched. The digital heart
waits for us to breathe emotion into it,
sculpting the memory of what it most wanted.
Behind the poem...
Briggs’ and Squires’ The Fading Afterglow of Creation – inspired by Arthur C Clarke’s short story, The Sentinel – explores what civilisations leave behind when machines are left without human input. Games continue to play, repeating the successes and mistakes their former controllers made. Social media algorithms seek connections. We may wish to project the best version of ourselves through various filters, but what will actually survive is what connections we made, whose hearts we touched.