This is a true story about the untimely death of someone close to the speaker, who seeks to reconstruct the story of her death in a way that can provide closure and hopefully justice. It is also a reflection on analog and digital storytelling and the objects that hold these stories.
The work’s interface displays each portion of this linear narrative as a kind of slideshow, sequentially presenting each piece of the argument and evidence in a way that makes a compelling and moving. In tune with its media, it is very “electric” with plus and minus symbols on the sides of the slideshow (in the shape of a battery) that serve as a navigation interface. The electricity in the title, the battery, shaped interface, the line of ooooooo’s at the base of the slides— which indicates one’s position in the narrative, all seem to symbolically suggest the energy required in a assembling materials and evidence to put together a compelling narrative, one that might lead to an official investigation.
Much like HTML documents are composed from multiple separate digital objects and assembled on the fly to produce a coherent composition, the detective and narrator both need to put together body of material, circumstancial, and experiential evidence in way that creates a logical chain of events. The source code for this work reveals tension between the representation of the information and its display because the whole sequence is organized in a very deliberately as an ordered list but the code used to create it is that for an “unordered” list <ul>.
The order is given in the documentation, something which is human-readable but not executable by a machine. Consider how this resonates with the evidence and the chain of events that the narrator creates but that the detective is unwilling to believe or act upon.
Think about how the material evidence— the note, photograph, calendar, phone numbers, witness, and other analog objects— are flawed when telling Katie’s story to those who knew her. The most compelling evidence is narrative itself, Katie’s story— her alcohol and drug abuse and her rehabilitation, the stories which reveal her character, hopes, plans— which the detectives couldn’t (or wouldn’t) use.
All we have is stories, the documentation for our lives, and the objects we leave behind won’t tell our stories. People will.