From the first words one may speak as an infant, to the last statement one may make on the execution bed, a timeless space in-between is created, questioning what “the final blessing” entails.
Texas is the state with the most executions in the US, with 569 in total up to date. These last statements from the executed offenders are controversially public information, but the dataset is pretty well-known and widely used. Bearing in mind the debate between justice and humanity, my project’s concept largely has to come to the evaluation of what is to be included versus what to be excluded. It’s also a dynamic between the collective “offenders” and each offender’s individuality. I decided to focus on the statements without the stereotypes of a person’s race, gender, etc. The other dataset from Stanford, A wordbank of children’s first words, came across immediately as an introspection of the thinking process. First words in life to last words in life. By cross-matching and visualizing the two datasets, the project creates a space for ponders of a person’s lifetime journey. We all become the witnesses of this final blessing as a symbolic act of rebirth, for the offenders or the victims. The project utilizes the features of different “time indicators” from the last words dataset: time of offense, time received sentence, etc. to visualize the seemingly definable extents of what happened and the timeless personal and social collective influences.
Is an act forgiven once the final sentence is executed? Is this a blessing for the offenders or the victims? Or perhaps, for us who are indirectly related to this social process? This website creates a space of imagination, contemplation, and introspection, from one's birth to death.