Study Guide

Dark Matter Daniela's Exhibit

By Blake Crouch

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Daniela's Exhibit

We know that Daniela is an artist and all, but we never expected her to produce something as crazy as the art exhibit we visit in Jason2's universe.

The exhibit consists of a futuristic labyrinth with five paths. The walls, which are made out of fancy TV screens or something, show a series of looped images, like some infernal maze of GIFs. And those images? Pretty heady. Here's a sampling:

Birth—child screaming, mother weeping with joy.
A condemned man kicking and twisting at the end of a noose.
A snowstorm.
The ocean.
A desert landscape scrolling past. (5.243-247)

And here's how the exhibit ends:

The Cross.
The Buddha.
The pentagram.
The peace sign.
A nuclear detonation. (5.255-259)

Okay, okay—it's a little cheesy. It's the kind of art exhibit that only exists on sitcoms. Still, this kind of pretentious piece is an interesting reflection of the novel's themes.

First off, there's the structure of the exhibit. Being forced to choose one path out of five comments on the concept of choice: the novel often uses images of "paths" to illustrate the idea that each choice can lead us into a vastly different life. The exhibit also touches on the interdependence of all things, which is something Jason comes back to a few times. The thing is even called "Entanglement"—a play off of "quantum entanglement," an important concept in quantum physics.

It might not be worthy of MoMA, but Daniela's art exhibit provides a fascinating counterbalance to Dark Matter's high-science insanity.

Dark Matter Daniela's Exhibit Study Group

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