2014 Ark of Martyrs, video, 15′

The video, Ark of Martyrs, presents the first five pages of deSouza’s rewriting of Joseph Conrad’s infamous 1899 novel, Heart of Darkness, set in what was then Belgian Congo. The video presents audio narration of Conrad’s original text synched to deSouza’s scrolling rewritten, rhyming text, requiring the viewer to follow both by emulating simultaneous translation. Where Conrad’s narrator, Marlow, contrasts the “civility” of London’s River Thames with the “savagery” of the Congo River, deSouza’s narrator, Garbo, recounts “civilization” as a wedding party on an adrift cruise ship, its revelers on the brink of their own hedonistic self-destruction. Mimicking mass surveillance and data-collection, Garbo eavesdrops on conversations and the uncensored mental chatter of the assembled guests, creating an effusive portrait of the contemporary with recurring reference to news events and social anxieties, from sexual desire to gender dysphoria, from Desert Storm to bank bailouts, from the “Arab Spring” to global warming.