Blood-soaked snow and the waxy green of conifers color the pensive landscape of The Last Hunt, an interactive story produced by the Digital Studio at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The narrative follows photographer Alexi Hobbs as he joins his aging grandfather Pit on their final visit to the old family cabin on the rocky shore of a “deep, dark lake” in Quebec.
Photographs by Hobbs and a text narrative convey the character of his grandfather, a man who always felt more at home in the forest, and in spite of their generational divide there’s a connection between the way hunting and photography both make them more present in each moment. “I have a hard time with words sometimes,” Hobbs writes. “But I do know one thing: there’s a story here, in these pictures. It’s a vocabulary you start to pick up on, like anything else. Buckets of feathers. Hare stripped of their fur. A sideways wind blowing in off the lake. Smoke. Us.”
Released for free on iTunes for iPad in 2013, but also available in iOS for iPod and online, The Last Hunt uses a simple scroll function to connect between photographs, text available in English and French, and drawings, with a smart use of the gyroscope balance function of the iPad for depth. Throughout are small animations that seamlessly respond to the progression of the tale, like a running hare or snare set and triggered against a tree. A strategic use of lush but somber music sets the tone for the scenes of both life and death, composed by Rameses III and Barn Owl, along with a track from An Empty Bliss Beyond This World by the Caretaker (aka Leyland Kirby), itself an album about loss of memory in Alzheimer’s recalled through fragments of 78s.
The NFB is currently creating a lot of impressive interactive content, and The Last Hunt was honored last year by the Webby Awards in the People’s Voice category for Best Navigation/Structure. The art app only takes about 10 minutes to move through if you’re scrolling at a steady speed, and although it’s a couple years old now it’s one of those pieces that has the potential to endure beyond its technology as a skillful blend of images and experience that measure the last moments with a person in the place where they are most themselves.
The Last Hunt is available for free on iTunes.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
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Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
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The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.