The Dark Room

The Dark Room investigates myth-making, its process and the illumination of text by its discoverer, the reader.

Some people say that the entire story is in its first sentence. The Dark Room visualizes the process of the chipping away at the block of marble and finding that entire story—while retaining all the dead ends, roundabouts, failures.

Using sentences from MCAD alumni books as prompts, we invited 12 writers to independently add one (1) sentence to a story each day for 13 days. Each morning, the story would land in the writer’s inbox with four new sentences (one of them their own) and they were forced to choose which strain to follow. Some days, the writers all leapt off the same sentences; some times they each took a different route. 

Our myths are honed over hundreds of years, through collision and conflict. Often, though, they are presented to us as monolithic, unassailable structures. The Dark Room is a gesture towards the guts of the machine, an indication of our license to emancipate our own stories.

What resulted was an exploration of the vastness of story and its ever-changing nature — a gesture to the theory of the multiverse; a hydra-head of branching, tangling narrative structures covering the walls of a room in the Minneapolis College of Art & Designs Main Galllery and printed in black light ink. Participants would enter one end of the dark room with a small black light flashlight and begin to follow the story through the space. Picture an intrepid anthropologist illuminating cave drawings. Think of an archaelogist holding a lantern to glowing heiroglyphics.  Participants could follow one story until it branches or choose places to shine their light at random. 

The installation ran from June 13 - Jul 12, 2015.  



Sam White

Katie Sisneros

Matt Mauch

Ed Bok Lee 

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

David Mura

Jake Skillings

Jeff Henebury 

John Jodzio

Maggie Ryan Sandford

Patrick Thomas

Anne Boyer



Ross Nervig and Luke Finsaas 



Luke Finsaas