Article written by Casvar Quivian, as provided by Sam Jowett
Art by Luke Spooner
Call this a tell-all, call this an indictment.
For myself, it is a revelation.
This will be my final paper on Final Blush of the Republic. There’s no doubt some of you are gasping with relief at the reading of those words, but it’s only for the sole reason that there will cease to be the need for any further papers. Even that ghoul Temyren from the History Department is waving in the white flag after I’m finished, which is truly the real blessing. Regardless, the debate ends here.
Orin Sydan’s work of Final Blush of the Republic can be considered nothing short of a masterpiece. Composed brilliantly in the final days of the Cantarin Democratic Electorate of Niser, it is more than the tipping point of the political turmoil that had encompassed the State at that time, it’s the abolishment of that tumour of faux democracy that we had been subject to live in for the last two centuries.
The composition occurred on the 30th of June 2527, at approximately 3:12 in the afternoon. Given the unpredictable nature of its subjects, many–truly it is embarrassing that Temyren’s “paper” on the subject even got him tenure–attribute Sydan’s composition to pure luck. To do so, I insist, would be a mistake, as they miss the essential preparations Sydan endured for what is estimated to be over two years, before composing the work.
Can Temyren truly dismiss it as luck that Final Blush of the Republic was composed in the formal Executive House of the Cantarin Political Party? Was it luck that the fifteen subjects included most of the essential government characters of that term? Was it luck that the colours remained thick and all encompassing throughout the piece? None of the ultramarine blue that represented the Cantarin Elect remained; replacing them were vivid shades of coral, pink, vermillion, and scarlet. I could perhaps entertain a grain of serendipity to the proceedings, but credit ought to go where credit is due, and by all accounts, Sydan is a genius.
The exact concoction of chemicals used by Sydan in his detonator remains a great controversy among the art communities. Many have claimed to be able to replicate the cocktail, yet no work after Final Blush of the Republic has captured the boldness of the colour or the unique fractal shapes that Sydan engineered.
Some consensus can be had, and I am with the majority on this. Polarix, now popular in most Chem-Art circles, is thought to have been Sydan’s choice as the primary skin rupture of the subjects. The side effect of Polarix, combined with the ideal sister chemical, allows for a unique expulsion of fluids as well, one which matches the patterns found in Final Blush of the Republic. Dysoforic Acid also must have been ejected from Sydan’s detonator, yet it remains grounds for debate by a few who seem to lack common sense. Finally, Qalcifex would have to have been present as well, given the calcification present.
Given Sydan’s admiration for perfect symmetry, I would insist that his detonator reflected the sentiment, and you can find my concept drawings of it in my prior paper–shaped as a sphere, perfectly mirrored, and with no distinguishable external features. The innocence of such an object presents a unique contrast to the composition itself. As well as being Sydan’s personal stylistic choice, the use of a sphere would have had some utility to his benefit–easy to conceal and place in any location, which must have been the case when it came to Final Blush of the Republic.
On the 30th of June, the chief party members of the Cantarin Elect met in the Executive House, considered the head of state at that time. The purpose of the meeting was a second cross-examination of the newly announced labour legislation by the leader of the opposition party, which at the time was the Niser Democrats of Peace and Order (N.D.P.O).
The meeting had been scheduled three months in advance, which was also in rare accordance to the constitution. This presented Sydan ample time to figure out the more difficult machinations of his plan. The Executive House was widely considered to have the best security measures on Niser, with only the private quarters of the Cantarin Elect coming close. But there was a fundamental difference between the two that Sydan took means to exploit. Private quarters were, by their definition, private. Large portions of the Executive House, in contrast, could be made available to the public for various tours. Sydan was further advantaged by having operated anonymously until this time. Having done his previous works under various pseudonyms, his revolutionary status was unknown to the Cantarin Elect. This allowed him to continue to travel publicly without much difficulty.
While the exact details of Sydan’s actions remain elusive, my research conclusively points to him visiting the Executive House a least twice before the aforementioned meeting. One of these visits is confirmed to have occurred a mere five days beforehand. Two possibilities exist here: during this visit, Sydan managed to place the detonator himself and keep it hidden from the regular security sweeps until the meeting took place, or Sydan managed to pass on a detonator to a fellow accomplice who had access to the Executive House and who would’ve been able to place it a closer time before the meeting. Digging through the sources–many of which you’ll find in the appendices–I find a strong case for the latter, which opens a whole new plethora of questions.
Do I have suspects? Naturally. Will I reveal my hand, so to speak? Hardly.
After a brief recess, the meeting resumed at 3:00. At this point, it is largely agreed upon that Prime Minister Lilium was continuing to enact her speaking privileges and was occupying the podium. She continued to do so until 3:12, when Sydan’s detonator went off.
Imagine the room. Ultramarine blues doing little to quell the rising heat. Men and women in dark suits. The “representatives” of Niser arguing about a bill on partisan lines. Should that irrelevant clause be subtracted or kept? Party discipline keeping the meeting in gridlock. Lilium and Seltz clashing horns.
Chemical laced nanites shower upwards from the rapidly dissolving sphere. They lock onto every biological signature present in the room. Faster than bullets, they penetrate the skins of all the politicians.
Nobody notices yet. Meeting still in session.
This lasts for three seconds. Afterwards, there’s a brief flash of pain. And then the reaction occurs, simultaneously for all humans in the room. The nanites have caused an instant dissolving of most internal organs in the human body, blending it into a viscous, fluid soup. This soup now ruptures multiple points of the skin, projecting outwards like geysers. Not in the ugly dull pinks of natural biology, but rather shades that Sydan intended. Fuchsia, tangerine, cantaloupe. One second, politicians, the next a volcanic eruption of colour. It saturates their former hosts, the bodies around them, and the room entirely. A glistening maelstrom that stains permanently. Out with the blues, in with the sunset.
A second volley of chemicals is fired, meant to establish the permanence of the work. Dysoforic acid seeks out the remaining skin that now hangs like curtains. The dead cells, representing human’s largest organ, dissolve without a trace.
Qalcifex follows a second after. It blasts the remaining skeleton structure, now glistening with colour. The fluid soup and the bones begin to calcify. Sydan’s masterwork begins to truly shine here. The process defies gravity. Tendrils of fluid both drip down and upward from the fresh sculptures. Twisting and coiling, they plant their roots in the ceiling and floor, intrinsically connecting the subject with the room. Perhaps it is here that Sydan was going for a puppet-like effect. The whole piece finishes calcification, hardening into a shimmering resin. The permanence of the piece is established. The politicians and room frozen in an ethereal tableau.
The Final Blush of the Republic indeed.
What are we left with? Fifteen sculptures, composed of a translucent, multi-coloured resin. Frozen in place, fluid dripping off them in stalactites, adding a natural element to the piece. The room splattered with gorgeous fractals. Here is Sydan’s magnum opus, second to none. There’s nothing quite like it, and the persistent denial to qualify it as art is easily the greatest scab in the Academia field today.
Others have questioned my theories. Many have snorted disbelief at my own claims on Sydan’s composition. But I can say without hesitation that I’ve put the issue to rest. There is no debate.
You’ll find the proof in the university’s library. Cassius and Temyren, while I can’t say the most enthusiastic of volunteers, played their parts nobly. Frankly, I knew that a paper would not be enough to convince the rest of you. It’s obvious, to me now, that a demonstration is what’s truly required to tip you over the edge, and it’s quite serendipitous that the results have turned out so splendidly. Who would have thought that Qalcifex would be a suitable look for academics? Perhaps not a perfect copy of Final Blush, but it is close enough. I won’t deny that it took time, and one would expect far more stringent security measures after last year’s incident on campus, but the detonator, in the end, was far too easy to sneak in. I’d say fix them, but it will be irrelevant come tomorrow.
Ah, yes, tomorrow. I do hope one of you–preferably Chauncer or Dirk–stumbles upon this document before detonation. I’m sure it would be a goldmine to see your expression.
There’s too many carbon copies. Too many wannabes. The Chem-Art scene has become a pitched battle of half-baked anarchists and short-tempered art students. I’ve been accused of many of the works, formally and informally. It’s time Sydan’s masterpiece got a true sequel. A coda. It’s time for me to deliver it. What comes next is something far more monumental. The detonators have been set. When this document is sent, so too my piece in utero will unleash upon this den of Cantarin apologists. Be proud, though, you’ll bear a role. As subjects or as victims, it’s your choice.
Either way, good riddance.
Casvar Quivian is an associate professor in the Critical Art studies department at Niser University. He has published several papers on the emergence and cultural relevance of Chem-Art, hoping to end its stigmatization and promote a sort of “open-mindedness” on the subject. This has led to more than a few heated debates with other members of faculty, a few of which leading to physical altercations, one of which includes a notorious charge of assault involving a Holo-board. The official position of Niser University is to remain neutral in the debate, but to encourage a plurality of opinions and conflict resolutions on the subject.
Sam Jowett currently lives and studies law in Toronto, Ontario. While he should perhaps focus on writing more “academic things,” he can’t help but procrastinate and write “fiction things” instead. You can find his stories at Fickle Muses and Storyshack.
Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“The Origins of Chem-Art: A Look into the Manifestation of ‘Final Blush of the Republic'” is © 2017 Sam Jowett
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Luke Spooner