The Last Sound

Carmen Mattear

Artist statement

Carmen Mattear is a multidisciplinary artist who collects media as data and finds patterns through method. Her practice is informed by cinema, music, television, and familial relations. For Mattear, art is about creating organized chaos, through which anecdotes emerge, revealing our true nature as a culture. 
The Last Sound merges obsolete with cutting edge technology, bringing together the filmwork of directors renowned for the use of colour. Selected scenes are separated into six colours; red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Mattear then produced a multichannel composition of film dialogue and music where the colour corresponds with the colour of the scene in the film. These sounds and voices are embodied by the C64 monitors. Separating the colour driven dialogue into six channels personifies the technology by giving each monitor a unique mood, in an attempt to relay a disjointed story. The monitors are swaddled in sets of blankets, and a warm atmospheric glow, lending them a comfortable setting in which to share their extracted final moments of film, score and dialogue. They were then recorded using a 360 camera, so they could be displayed as a virtual space inside a VR headset.
At the time of its release in 1982, the C64 was one of the most popular personal computers. Able to perform basic spreadsheets and word processing, and simple 8-bit video games, at 64KB of storage, it lacked capacity for video. The C64’s had a moment of popularity and quickly faded into obsolescence. Today, they are a forgotten historical relic; a grandparent computer trying to process limited audiovisual information. 
The virtual reality aspect of the exhibit allows the C64 to be memorialized as a representation for all obsolete technology that humans continually outgrow. The piece is not a pattern of colour, dialogue and music to pick apart, it is an ode to this dead and dying piece of technology using its last power to tell a story, and reminisce on its previous media. While entering this world of grandparent computers trying to tell us their last story, we are reminded that the means through which we enter this world (VR) will also become outdated and this particular virtual world will be lost, as one invention is a stepping stone to accelerate the development of its successor. 

You can see more of Carmen’s work on her instagram: @handlewith.caution