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'Heart of Darkness' Gets an Animated Update on Instagram

Animator Sascha Ciezata transforms Joseph Conrad's classic tale into a social media-based graphic novel.
20 February 2015, 9:45pm

Heart of Darkness Official Trailer from Sascha Ciezata on Vimeo.

From the Instagram account of animator Sascha Ciezata comes a modern reimagining of the Joseph Conrad classic, Heart of Darkness. Every night, Ciezata posts a 15-second chapter of his social media-based graphic novel using Instagram video, that follows the antics of Marley, his daring rodent cartographer modeled after Conrad’s protagonist, Charles Marlow.

The series takes place amid the stormy saga that was Hurricane Sandy, throwing little Marley into the murky mayhem beneath the city’s abandoned streets. Mirroring the frame of Conrad’s story, he sets out through the snaking river of flooded subway tunnels on behalf of the New York City Trade Company to seek out the mysterious Rat King, Kurtz.

The quasi-realism of Ciezata’s adaptation is augmented with the multimedia style of his series. In each episode, the animation is complemented with real photographic imagery of New York and set to a recording of Union Square's famous drummers. Start following Marley’s adventurous tail down into the dark heart of New York City with the clips below, and look out for new installments of Ciezata’s Heart of Darkness every day at 7pm PST/10pm EST on the DarkHeartNYC Instagram:

(2/3) Far below these bustling streets another world exists. The vast network of subway lines serve as our trade routes. All the detritus of the Worlds Metropolis serves as our currency. And in a city populated with some 8 million people, business is always booming...

A video posted by Heart Of Darkness (@darkheartnyc) on Feb 14, 2015 at 7:07pm PST

(3/3) They call me MARLEY. I'm a navigator and cartographer for the Trade Company. I go places other Rats wouldn't dare, mapping abandoned tunnels and the like. It's a hazardous profession, but I have a nose for adventure... (Be sure to check back here tomorrow and watch Marley's adventure continue)

A video posted by Heart Of Darkness (@darkheartnyc) on Feb 14, 2015 at 7:11pm PST

This particular #NYC #urbanlegend is very real, I assure you! Lucky for me I'm quick witted and nimble on my feet. This came as quite a shock to my pursuer. Of course, I didn't make it completely unscathed. When I came too I discovered my fur had turned completely white! #tobecontinued

A video posted by Heart Of Darkness (@darkheartnyc) on Feb 15, 2015 at 6:58pm PST

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