Backstory of a Backstory
In 2018, I began writing a novel. Entitled APOCRYPHA, the story makes reference to a database of mythical humanoid and nonhumanoid characters called “personas.”
It’s a dystopian novel, so it’s not surprising that the database I make reference to has been weaponized—i.e., rather than serve as a register for providing assistance, it’s used primarily as a surveillance measure by the group tasked with collecting the data: the Registrar X-Tempori, run by a guy named Daniel Jansen. Jansen works for a monolithic entity called The Ministry, but he has carte blanche where the treatment of personas is concerned.
Fortunately, his efforts are disrupted a group of digital activists called Pierrots.
As you might imagine, the issue of governmental overreach is central to the problematic status quo of the novel, which is set primarily “in a version of Trinidad that doesn’t yet exist.” The story includes various forms of violence, oppression, discrimination, and (of course) surveillance. Jansen ensures the status quo is maintained and enforced.
From an academic perspective, it occurred to me that all of these themes (and the status quo they support) are relevant topics in Rhetorical Theory, Cultural Studies, and Digital Humanities, Caribbean or otherwise.
As a creative digital humanities project in its own right, the archive will form part of a more extensive project to explore the Caribbean Imaginary. And I thought.