“Sacrament” — Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson’s fiction has appeared in Barrelhouse Magazine, Gulf Coast, The Portland Review, Ruminator, and The Cimarron Review. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he’s currently working on his first novel.

Ever watch TV and think the ads are funnier than the sitcom they interrupted?  Or see a beautiful photo in a magazine, only to wonderingly discover it’s an advertisement?  Moments like these blur the boundaries between art and advertising, a borderline that grows increasingly unclear in this era of corporate sponsorship of the arts.

Matt Williamson spins a world where art and advertising have collided on such a large scale that a Nike art project can fill Times Square, and an Apple light show can be seen from outer space.  The world is loaded with art-advertising objects so massive and inescapable that an international war has erupted over its imperialist presence.  Or perhaps that’s just the view of our protagonist, a character who maintains his own uncertain boundary between art and his life’s work as an intelligence extractor.

It’s not an easy craft, pulling information out of the unwilling.  It takes special tools, a unique skillset and a sense of intuition that can’t be taught.  It’s a gift.  A talent.  It’s easy to see why some people might call torture an artform. 

But it’s only in a truly broken world that anyone would.