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Digital Visions
David Clark
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"A is for Apple"

If you ask David Clark what “apple” means, he will tell you that it is the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate and committed them to sin; it is the notorious fruit that poisoned Snow White and the famous computer scientist Alan Turing. “Apple” is also a record company that represented the Beatles, and a computer brand commonly known as “Macs”. But this is not all that “apple” means. In fact, in “A is for Apple,” viewers are invited to explore the array of associations of ‘apple’ in a psychoanalytical, philosophical, linguistic and pop culture context on an interactive Flash platform.

“A is for Apple” is said to be inspired by the song “The Glass Onion” by the Beatles1. Some interpreted the “glass onion” as a metaphor for understanding things on various layers and perspectives2. This pluralist approach to understanding had influence on the creation of “A is for Apple” for Clark believes that our state of mind on knowledge and understanding functions in the same way. Knowledge, he wrote, is a “fluid and historically relative construct…made up of a web of associations and particularities but not systematic”3. In providing a sense of that fluidity and multiplicity, Clark structures his project after the net-browsing model—a web of linkages, or associations. He wants his audience to “reflect on the experience of web browsing…surfing from link to link, from association to association.”4 This, he believes, “seems to be our post-modern condition”5 that results from the deconstruction of the established belief systems, to the point where we have greater liberty of searching for knowledge in various sources with different insights. Using the ‘web’ as a model for knowledge system, Clark demonstrates the complexity of our awareness of an object as trivial as an ‘apple’. On the other hand, it also profess the surplus associations that are “hidden”, or more appropriately, unbeknownst to us.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theory, it is important to clarify what Clark refers to “hidden meanings” as. As much as “The Glass Onion” was a mellow tune that people grooved to, it was also one of the “cheeky” songs that the Beatles produced in the 1960s. In late 1969, Paul McCartney was falsely reported as being killed in a car accident. In a crazed hysteria, the fans looked into the band’s lyrics for clues regarding Paul’s death. Some read “the walrus” in “The Glass Onion” as a metaphor for Paul6. The fact that people desperately searched for clues and ‘found’ meanings in those lyrics fascinated Clark, even though John Lennon had openly declared that he did not intentionally create meanings in those lyrics. Clark became obsessed with people trying read ‘hidden’ meanings in given texts that may have a specific or non-specific intended meaning, like the game of ink-blot reading. Naturally, this added to Clark’s interest in cryptography, “the deliberate encoding of meaning to hide it as well as for our great curiosity about the meaning of the world,”7 and how cryptography plays in provoking and producing knowledge.


4Knight, Brooke. Email correspondence interview March 16 2004
5Knight, Brooke. Email correspondence interview March 16 2004
6Knight, Brooke. Email correspondence interview March 16 2004
7To define meaning in terms of authorial intention is the so-called 'intentional fallacy' identified by W K Wimsatt and M C Beardsley of the 'New Critical' tendency in literary criticism (Wimsatt & Beardsley 1954). We may, for instance, communicate things without being aware of doing so
8Knight, Brooke. Excerpt from artist statement for Digital Visions submission
9Knight, Brooke. Email correspondence interview March 16 2004

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Site: http://www.aisforapple.net/