Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Until We Say Yes

As some of you know, I was just in Canada working on the text for the brilliant Volcano's new piece "Until We Say Yes" about Pearson International Airport. I thought as a wee taster of fun to come, I would include a little excerpt from the piece. This section is called "The Wisdom of the Dead." And in case you're legal-curious, it is written by me, and property of Volcano.

The Wisdom of the Dead

After life is over, there is very much organizing to do. Everyone has their own room full of shelving units with very much to put in order. Once completed, these rooms make up a library browsed by the fates. You are given many of your own things to order – interesting and not so interesting - a list of all of the nice and horrible things that people said about you behind your back, with those that are true in bold. Many movies of every time you appeared in someone else’s dream, which are always beautiful and surprising to watch. A copy of every photo you have ever been caught in, and a copy of every record you have ever appeared in, on cctv, in market research phone calls, on tape, in home movies, on the internet. Every piece of paper you have ever written on, every time you have signed your name, every email, every text, every possible trace of the fact that you were once alive is stored here. Apparently, organizing this used to take one month at most, but lately it has begun to take people years.

Right before you start the process, you are referenced into one of two categories, based on a percentage of every time that you said yes or no. I for example am 72.3% yes and 27.7% no. So I am in the first category – those who have over 70% yes – these rooms are always smaller, less full of information, of trace, usually populated by shorter lives. But they are also the only part of the library that anyone considers worth browsing, with very few exceptions.

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