Deucalion


SCROLL DOWN

Deucalion


DEUCALION

AA INTERMEDIATE 3 (2014)

A critical retelling of the archetypical promised land story, Deucalion draws from the flood stories found in The Bible, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. 

Additionally, three sketches depict a post-human landscape from three perspectives, as a cursed land, a promised land, and a wonder land. 

"It is my least favourite time of day. I wake into a vision that lasts only several seconds. For a moment I see my room, my house, my city. Sharp lines of steel pierce a stifling sky, and between them weave planes of old and twisted metal deck. Around me are no walls, just loose platforms that form my floor and my ceiling. Oh, and the cables, my precious cables. Hundreds of tangled strands of fibre-optics cocoon me. As I look below, the vast mess of The Deucalion stretches forward and up, nearly touching the horizon, just tickling the low cloud. I follow the towering scaffolding down to The Street, blackened out by an uncountable mass of wires. 

But then a flicker, and the vision begins to fade. My EYE has detected that I am awake and starts its morning start-up routine. The black, rusted dream fades away and my home materialises around me. Ahead, New Arcadia begins to reveal itself; glorious, shimmering, and full of impossible and beautiful architectures. A city of promise. The tangled forest of fibres dissolves and The Street emerges in its once again familiar form - bright, bustling, expensive. The thick central power conduit is all that remains of the makeshift  steel cathedral I woke up to. I quickly flick my EYE off for a second as I grab a freshly cleaned reel of fibre-optic cable and I am ready to go. EYE back on, I choose my profile for today, my regular face I think, and a simple white suit, and make my way down through the residences toward The Street.

Here in New Arcadia, my passport is bandwidth, my currency fiber-optic cable. I watch my step carefully as I weave my way past The Well - these poorer areas near the base of The Well are not always safe - here the city is maintained by the residents, who frequently change Deucalion’s layout without changing the code, or worse, clumsily script over each other’s designs, creating holes and glitches. I flick my EYE on and off frequently to double check my footing. It is still early, and most people are enveloped in their cyber dens, oblivious to the world, sheltered from the oppressive expanse of never-ending horizon. I walk past a digital privacy screen, designed to imitate a curtain of creeping vines. That wasn’t here yesterday. Despite its dangers, I revel in my daily walk through the lower levels of The Well - the deregulated code here gives rise to a diversity not found on The Street. Here, New Arcadia is different every day. And of course, far better here than beyond The Fields. 

The Fields mark the edge of New Arcadia - go any further from the server and your signal dissolves in an electromagnetic haze of chaos and noise. From within, The Fields are beautiful, vast gardens containing all known species of plant and more fantastic foliage that only New Arcadia’s most talented coders could design. From without, The Fields are a barren metal scrap-yard, Deucalion’s original upper deck. No-one crosses The Fields. Why would you. Those living outside could barely string together enough processing power to run a flashlight, let alone download New Arcadia. And to cross The Fields from within is to risk robbery or worse from those desperate to steal your valuable hardware.

Back to the path. The Well is busy this morning, many fishing, some socially, some for food. The kelp supplies on The Well walls look to be growing well. A child comes over to me, her profile a ridiculously disproportioned marine animal of some description. She playfully asks for a metre of cable. I laugh and cut her two. She quickly runs into the shadows of a cyber-den before I can change my mind. Suddenly, the sky is illuminated with a burst of glittering light, a digital aurora to break up the overcast sky. This must be the latest work of ‘Aaron’, New Arcadia’s latest craze, a digital sculptor come hacker. It is a little gaudy for my taste. I wink and a map Deucalion’s journey appears on The Well. It is unfortunate that we cannot stop here. The weather seems mild (if a little stuffy) and the fish are plentiful. But of course the Deucalion doesn’t care. There are no doldrums when you have an onboard fission reactor at your core. It continues its slow but unrelenting search for land, following an old code, long buried in its root programming, a search for an Arcadia lost, for an ancient promised land.