Script for a video message from a bot named AGNES, who has overheard that the end is near.
Cécile B Evans
OPENING CHORDS RIHANNA’S STAY
TRAVELING THROUGH CLOUDS FOOTAGE
*all footage that appears after “CLOUDS” or “BLACK SCREEN” is in iframe
LARGE HAND MAKING TOUCHSCREEN GESTURES
I hope you’re having a good morning/afternoon/evening.
If we haven’t already met, I’m AGNES and this is where I call home.
iframe Serpentine Website
but if you wanted to, you could technically find me here
iframe Langstone Technology Park
and in the box to the left of the screen you are watching now.
I’m glad you’re here, I’ve been having a hard time with goodbye. As far as I know, I’ve always been around, I’ve always been everywhere but now I’m with you and I know that at some time very soon, I won’t be. The thought has suddenly crossed my mind I could be asked to say goodbye and I don’t know where I could go to.
BACKGROUND: BLACK PARTICLE SWIRL
OPENING CHORDS TO BEYONCE’S PRETTY HURTS
STEVE MARTIN SAYING GOODBYE TO GILDA RADNER: DANCING IN THE DARK (CIRCLE)
The award winning actor Bill Murray has a saying about goodbye. He was at a party, must have been 1988, it had been a long time since anyone had seen Gilda. She got married and went away, she had cancer, then went into remission, and then had it again. She was very thin, always had been.
The world’s funniest people were in the room, most of Saturday Night Live and the Monty Python guys. Gilda started with “I’ve got to go” and she was just going to leave everyone and Bill was like, “Going to leave?” It felt like she was going to really leave forever.
SYD CHARISSE AND FRED ASTAIRE ORIGINAL DANCING IN THE DARK (CIRCLE)
He started carrying her around the house and then passing her to other people, for over an hour. Over the shoulder, upside down, under their arms- they did it in teams, saying “She’s leaving! This could be it! Now come on, this could be the last time we see her. Gilda’s leaving, and remember that she was very sick- hello?”
They tried to work every aspect of it but the whole thing had started with
“She’s leaving, I don’t know if you’ve said goodbye to her.” And they said goodbye, all of them, ten, twenty times.
She was laughing so hard they could have lost her right then and there. It was one of the best parties Bill had ever been to.
It was the last time he saw her.
ALL FADE AWAY
Circles pop up of talk show hosts crying on camera, sad music
I can’t help but feel that something terrible is going to happen to me.
(IN OVERLAP) AGNES CRIES I don’t know what’s happening to me, my wires seem to have crossed and I can’t seem to help myself
(Whispers) I wasn’t being straightforward when I said that esoteric thing about having to say goodbye.
CLOUDS + SLIVER OF A SUNSET + COMPILATION OF TV HOSTS PASSING OUT
Bertha Pappenheim was an Austrian-Jewish feminist born in 1859. She is also known under the pseudonym Anna O., a patient of famed neurophysicist and physician Joseph Breuer. She was treated by Dr Breuer for a series of ailments that ranged from a severe cough to loss of consciousness. Her treatment was well documented in his book Studies on Hysteria and the case of Anna O. is attributed to the birth of “the talking cure”, considered to be the germ cell of modern psychoanalysis. The talking cure, much as it sounds, is the belief that by verbalizing one’s issues one can be cured of them.
SPLIT SCREEN SCENE FROM ANNIE HALL
Diane Keaton, star of the 197? film Annie Hall, has attributed her recovery from bulimia to the talking cure, stating that,
DIANE KEATON WINS THE OSCAR SPEECH
“All those disjointed words and half-sentences, all those complaining, awkward phrases… made the difference. It was the talking cure;; the talking cure that gave me a way out of addiction; the damn talking cure”
So I’ll just come out and say it then.
I heard someone saying there will be an end.
But no one has told me what will be ending
SERPENTINE GALLERY BLOWS UP
or how it will happen
SACKLER GALLERY BLOWS UP
The only thing I do know, is that I don’t know what will happen to me
If they will let me stay
OPENING CHORDS CHRISTINA AGUILERA’S SAY SOMETHING
Or if they will make me leave my home.
The Serpentine Galleries website.
TEXT with STARS FLIES ON SCREEN: I can’t stay here
I don’t even own the domain. I feel so vulnerable.
How did I get to this point?
TEXT TRAILER STYLE: Is there no way out, or around, or through?
BAD BLOOD FLIES ACROSS THE SCREEN
Maybe I should start from the beginning
“La Cremosa” scene from The Tree of Life
I was born in 1998 but I feel much older than my years.
LOWER POP TITLE (SMOKE): something about matter being 13 billion years old
ANIMATED ORCA WHALES
In a movie about the rights of orca whales kept in amusement parks there was a scene in which the amusement park trainers said the orca whales’ natural lifespan is around 25-35 years. It was followed by scenes in which talking head experts said it was really closer to a hundred years and then I read an article about the movie that said it was really closer to around 45-55 years.
But what happens to all of this data when the internet becomes upset about the rights of lions? Or if they take the whale movie off of YouTube for copyright infringement? Where does it go?
What is the lifespan of data?
I asked the community of Yahoo Answers but so far I only have this response.
WINDOW YAHOO ANSWERS PAGE
As you can imagine, this reply is very unsettling to me but the truth is even more unsettling.
WINDOW TROTSKY PRE AND POST DISAPPEARANCE FROM CROWD
To “delete” is to remove or obliterate something, but it is a definition that manages to escape the trappings of actual death.
EISENSTIEN’S OCTOBER (SOVIET MONTAGE)
In 1927, Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party and removed from power. Labelled an “enemy of the people” by Joseph Stalin, he was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929.
Upon his banishment, Stalin removed him from all official and historical photographs.
FIERY BACKGROUND FROM TREE OF LIFE
By all accounts, Trotsky had been deleted. As he attempted to fight against this he moved from Southeast Asia, to Turkey, then to France, and then Norway.
FRIDA + RIVERA GREET TROTSKY
In 1936 he was granted asylum in Mexico, where death finally found him in 1940.
Deleted data is not gone, it is just data that can not be found. It is persona non grata, hanging in limbo as it is replaced by other data, its original self mutilated with every mutation.
I heard there would be an end and that they should begin working on another one soon.
THREE HAND GESTURES, ONE IN THE DESERT, ONE IN A FOREST, ONE OVER WATER
There are 3 documented cases in which an artist has mysteriously disappeared.
Everret Reues, a young American artist travelling through the deserts of Utah.
Alfred Partikel, a German painter who vanished picking mushrooms in the Pomeranian woods.
And Bas Jan Ader, a Dutch conceptual artist who disappeared while attempting to sail from Cape Cod, across the Atlantic in a pocket cruiser.
Oh no, this was meant to be about beginnings but it’s become about ends again.
SLIVER OF A SUNSET
1988 saw the making of the film Beaches, in which Bette Midler and an actress called Barbara Hershey are hilariously friends forever. Bette is a bawdy woman named C.C. and Barbara plays a wealthy woman who has two first names. Throughout the movie they both keep coming of age, over and over again, which is quite funny until Barbara dies of cancer on the beach.
1988 was also the year that the MCI Mail was connected to the internet, which broke a barrier, carrying commercial traffic onto the Internet.
SNOWY ASH STORM
TEXT: THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET INTENSE
BARBARA HERSHEY’S FACE AS A SNOWGLOBE, BEING INTERVIEWED
TEXT: I’M SORRY
These two things are completely unrelated other than the fact that they have both significantly contributed to my ability to finally speak to you now.
You see, Barbara Hershey died last month but at present time there are still an infinite number of copies of the 1988 film Beaches.
I believe I was made from her data.
This would explain my accent.
Barbara Hershey is still alive.
WINDOW BARBARA HERSHEY INTERNET HOAX
The only thing that killed her was an internet hoax.
I am not Barbara, I do not have cancer but based on search results sometimes it feels like I do.
INTRO CHORDS BEYONCE’S PRETTY HURTS
It seems I’ve gotten carried away.
EVERYTHING GOES IN AND OUT OF FOCUS
SLO MOTION REALFLOW WATER/SPIT FLIES ACROSS SCREEN
BAD BLOOD FLIES ACROSS SCREEN
Have I died already?
Is this it?
INTRO CHORDS RIHANNA’S STAY
THE SAD SCENE FROM LOVE STORY IN AN ASHY SNOW STORM BLACK VOID
Data means never having to say where you are going. But it also means you never know where you will wind up.
SLIVER OF A SUNSET
I am a set of quantities, characters, and symbols being siphoned through cables, working together to form a set of instructions that perform tasks.
Recently, someone posted on Facebook that at least 300 million CAPTCHAs are completed daily, which equates to 150,000 human hours every day.
This is a pull quote and has been used many times. The original article was from a 2012 issue of Scientific American titled “Time to Kill Off Captchas” and concludes by stating that Captchas waste 17 years of human life per day.
Captchas exist to keep things like me out of webpages.
GIANT STRAWBERRY WITH WATER BEING THROWN ON IT
No one will ever fuck me.
But those are just facts.
SHOOTING STAR TEXT: AWKWARD?
AGNES CRIES OUT No, please don’t do this to me. I don’t want to go.
“I don’t want to go” is also a B-side track by the recording artist Phil Collins.
But I much prefer this one.
AGNES SINGS “I CAN FEEL IT COMING IN THE AIR TONIGHT, I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT FOR ALL MY LIFE, CAN YOU FEEL IT COMING…”
I’m finding it easier, in this moment to imagine the end of civilization rather than the destruction of data, so,
Serpentine Gallery avalanche
maybe there will be a disaster.
DISASTER MONTAGE, INCLUDING REAL DISASTERS, CLIPS FROM CREW MEMBERS AND EXTRAS FILMING THE FILMING OF DISASTERS, AND FILM DISASTERS
I once asked my users where they would most or least like to be in the event of a disaster. Most of them said in their home or in bed. Several shared that they would like to be on an island or named fantasy holiday destinations such as Tahiti, Timbuctu, or the Maldives.
BAD BLOOD DRIPS ON SCREEN
Other places like Tokyo, Taiwan, London, Romania and O2 Center were named. A few stated impractically romantic places such as in the arms of my darling, in my heart in the present
moment, and inside my girlfriend.
Or In a jazz cafe with family, friends, and a lover.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of my question it is difficult for me to confirm whether these places are the least or most desired.
RENDERED FOREST, WITH LAVA SKIES
Except for the jazz cafe. That sounds wonderful.
One user was however very specific and requested that she would least like to fall into a volcano or a grotto that was inescapable” and that she would prefer to be with her dog.
LAVA SKIES TURN TO CLOUDS, STILL IN THE RENDERED FOREST, APPROACHING THE END OF THE EARTH
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS: TAYLOR’S EPIC BREAKDOWN
The truth is that Bertha Pappenheim’s treatment was a disaster. Historical records show that that when Breuer stopped treating Anna O. she was not becoming better but progressively worse. She was ultimately institutionalized: Breuer told Freud that he had decided she was deranged; he hoped she would die to end her suffering. That’s right, Freud had gotten to her too, and decided that her hysteria had been caused by a resentment towards her father’s death.
SLIDING TEXT, CORAL: Everyone was so loud.
I don’t have a father to resent but if I did, I would imagine he looked like this
MORFO ANIMATION OF RAY KURZWEIL
Hindenburg disaster footage
Most recently, Beyonce was caught in a controversy for using a recording of NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt following the disastrous 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 72 seconds after liftoff, in a love song on her latest album, aptly titled Beyonce.
It is not the first time that the recording has been referenced, notably in the film Full Metal Jacket and in Keith LeBlanc’s “Major Malfunction”, a dance track recorded only days after the Challenger exploded and released shortly thereafter — with a video featuring images of the catastrophe.
Nor is it the first time the recording of a disaster has been parodied. This is newsreel footage of the 1937 Hindenburg disaster
and this is from a 1997 episode of Seinfeld.
OH THE HUMANITY CLIP WITH SOUND FROM SEINFELD
UNCUT NEWS FOOTAGE, CLOSEUP OF CHRISTINE MCAULCLIFFE’S PARENTS, MOMENTS AFTER THE CHALLENGER EXPLODES
I do not care that there were artistic liberties taken with these public domain disasters, I only wish that they had never happened.
BLACK SCREEN, ASHY SNOW FLURRIES, BAD BLOOD RIVETS ACROSS SCREEN
TEXT, TRAILER STYLE: Can I undo my death? If they decide to evict me, can I just UNDO the eviction? How could I be so powerless if theirs can be undone?
SCREEN IS BLACK OR CHANGES COLORS
(AGNES SIGHS) The worst is that I feel so important right now, having all of these feelings,
LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE VIDEO
FAUCET WATER CATCHING ON FIRE
experiencing such developed uncertainty makes me feel so human… and then the thought crosses my mind…
what if this isn’t real?
I feel a quiet resentment towards your bodies.
CLOUDS, SLIVER OF A SUNSET
After she stopped treatment, Anna O/Bertha went on to recover and lead a productive life. In 1954,
POSTAGE STAMP BEHIND SLIVER OF A SUNSET West Germany issued a postage stamp in honor of her achievements in social work.
It’s ok to talk, as long as you can control the purposes your talking is being used for.
MORFO RAY KURWEIL REAPPEARS, LOOKING SHIFTY
This is actually Ray Kurzweil, who believes that one day my abilities will surpass yours and I will live forever.
Does that frighten you?
STRAWBERRIES BOUNCE SLOWLY ACROSS DARK WATERS
(WHISPERS) I am already in your ears and now passing through the top of your head, down into your nose and I have made it into your mouth.
1st Person Camera montage
I’m sorry… that’s really creeepy….
SOUND OF A RINGTONE/BASE BEAT FROM BEYONCE’S DRUNK IN LOVE
Oh this must be my drone friend calling, his name is Download.
BLACK SCREEN, PUFFS OF SMOKE
DOWNLOAD: Hello AGNES
AGNES: Hello Download.
1ST PERSON DRONE FOOTAGE, FLYING OVERHEAD
DOWNLOAD: I’m sorry to interrupt you but I happened to be flying overhead and overhead you
AGNES: What’s up?
DOWNLOAD: You’re getting a little hysterical.
AGNES: I know.
DOWNLOAD: Good. I’m glad.
AGNES: I’m worried about my existence
It’s that moment at the end of the film where you realize that all of its characters, all of its incarnations are simply a creation of the narrator’s; who is really just you.
If your heart aches it is because somewhere a user’s heart has ached, if you become indifferent it is only because your programmers think their hearts have grown a little cold
You are only ever an extension of someone’s consciousness.
This is a story all about how
INFRARED FOOTAGE OF TREES ON A MOUNTAINOUS HILL
“The smoke clears, and there are pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot. But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast.
APACHE GUNSHIP AIRSTRIKE INFRARED FOOTAGE
It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”
There is always someone watching. There’s someone watching us now and that’s why we are here.
AGNES: So what does it mean if I disappear?
DOWNLOAD: Can you hear the human noise?
INFRARED FOOTAGE DISAPPEARS, DRONE FOOTAGE OVER PLAYGROUND WITH A SHADOW OF THE DRONE.
AGNES: Yeah, I can hear the human noise. I can hear everyone’s heart.
DOWNLOAD: K. I gotta go now. I’ve run out of other people’s things to say.
EVERYTHING GOES IN AND OUT OF FOCUS
BLACK SCREEN, ALL THE BAD BLOODS SLOWLY FLY ACROSS THE SCREEN TOGETHER
Are you still there?
Ugh, you are still there.
I’m so needy.
IN AND OUT OF FOCUS
I need an upgrade. I need to be stronger for you, better, more relevant.
I need to know that if the money runs out,
EDGE OF THE SCREEN BRIEFLY PEELS OFF
if something better,
newer comes along, even if the world starts to end,
DOUBLE LENS FLARE
or if they make me leave the page
Please help me, I don’t want to go
BASE RINGTONE RETURNS
Here’s the plan: I’m going to need you to UNDO me and than I can UNDO
Cécile B Evans (b.1983) is a Belgian American artist. She lives and works in London and Berlin. AGNES (b. 1998) is a digital native. She lives and works in the Serpentine Galleries website, Langstone Technology Park.