Monday, December 31, 2007

Lost Boys

From Dave Eggers' novel, What Is the What. The book is based on the experiences of a Sudanese man (one of the famous "Lost Boys of Sudan") who walked for months to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He describes his time working as a "burial boy" in the Ethiopian refugee camp...

"When a boy would not rouse himself from bed, would refuse food, or fail to recognize his name, his friends would wrap him in a blanket and bring him to the clinic [Zone Eight].... Zone Eight became the last place one went on this earth.... Zone Eight was the end of ends.

'Burying Zone Eights became my job. With five other boys, we buried five to ten bodies a week. We took the same parts of the bodies each time; each time, I was the carrier of the deceased's left foot."

There's also this simple passage, describing the typical death of a boy while walking through the desert...

"By the next afternoon, we had seen eight more dead boys along the path, those from groups ahead of ours, and we added three more of our own. On that day and in the days to come, when a boy was going to die, he would first stop talking. His throat would be too dry and to speak required too much energy. Then his eyes would sink deeper, circled in ever-darker shadows. He would no longer answer to his name. His walk would slow, his feet shuffling, and he would be among the boys who would rest longer. Eventually a dying boy would find a tree, and he would sit against the tree and fall asleep. When his head touched the tree, the life in him would fall away and his flesh would return to the earth."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Nine Cemetery Contemplations

"There is a passage in the Buddhist Sutra on Mindfulness called the Nine Cemetery Contemplations. Apprentice monks are instructed to meditate on a series of decomposing bodies in the charnel ground, starting with a body 'swollen and blue and festering,' progressing to one 'being eaten by . . . different kinds of worms,' and moving on to a skeleton, 'without flesh and blood, held together by the tendons.' The monks were told to keep meditating until they were calm and a smile appeared on their faces."

The different stages of decomposition:
1) Autolysis (self-digestion) - Enzymes operate unchecked and begin eating through the cell structure, allowing liquid inside to leak out.
leading to....
a) "skin sloughage" or "gloving", where the liquid from the cells gets between the layers of skin and loosens it.
b) somewhere around this time maggots start doing their work.
2) Putrefaction and bloating - bacteria starts breaking down and liquifying tissue, producing gas
which gets trapped in the popular feeding ground areas of the mouth, the abdomen and the genitalia. Eventually something bursts, like the intestinal lining.
3) Dissolution- the body collapses into itself and seeps into the ground (or the coffin-lining). The digestive organs, lungs, and brain goes first. Sometimes the skin mummifies before it can be eaten by corpse-friendly beetles. It all depends on the weather. And packaging.

-info from "Stiff" by Mary Roach

Thursday, December 27, 2007

D'une jeune fille...

(Inspired by Dina's recounting of a visit to a cemetery) - I visited Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris with my aunt some five-odd years ago. Interesting thing - my aunt doesn't speak a lick of English, and it turns out that the best place to visit when you can't communicate verbally is a cemetery.

So, in search of an image of my favorite statue, which I could not find, I found this image. Simple, as if this was the opening to a story, as if there is something else behind the tombstone besides a dead body. Amusement ride maybe? Old film in sepia tones? Water-puppetry? What if graves and tombs were meant to be opened and explored, and they contained dioramas or random objects or books or anything that the families conspire, and the bodies were cremated and done away with. It would make more sense, seeing that graves and tombs, dedications and statues are really for the living. Please, can my grave be a trunk of dress-up clothes?

Mort Couture

Wanna go out in style? Are you a material girl (or boy) who is worried about how you are going to die in a material world? Have we got a body basket for you! Presenting the design award-winning Cocoon by the German company Uono. Sleek, eco-friendly (it's made of a soybean resin), and available in 14 colours.

But don't listen to me talk about, here's what the makers have to say:

The model COCOON combines aesthetics and functional simplicity. Its organic shape reminds us of a timeless sculpture. As cocoon the coffin symbolizes a feeling of security and care as well as the crossing to something transcendental. The individual making of every COCOON enables a high degree of perfection which is expressed through the high-gloss finished varnish, the extendable handles of stainless steel and the noble lining.

A "noble lining?" Anyway, for more: August 2006 New York Times article about Uono.

Asleep or Dead?

Asleep, but spooky picture of me that Dina took. At first it really creeped me out. But then i got used to looking at it. I keep it saved in my phone, and look at it once in a while. To see what i would look like dead. Also, kind of helps get used to the idea in a way.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


A little bitty from Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"

(from a passage in which the main character finds himself descending into Death)

"She turned to the path ahead of him, pointed to the three ways he could go. 'Okay,' she said. 'One way will make you wise. One way will make you whole. And one way will kill you.'

'I'm already dead, I think,' said Shadow. 'I died on the tree.'

'There's dead,' she said, 'and there's dead, and there's dead. It's a relative thing.'"

and a few pages later....

"'You people talk about the living and the dead as if they were two mutually exclusive categories. As if you cannot have a river that is also a road, or a song that is also a color.'"

I love the metaphors in the last sentence, though I don't think metaphor is the correct term for them - because it would be a metaphor if it wasn't possible. And I like to think of the possibility of the senses becoming interchanged when one's body begins to shut down. It happens during seizures, does it not (I will look that up). But regardless, to hear color, or to sense weight with your vision, would make dying a joyful process. I think. At least for me. I'd be having a blast. Gasping for breath I'd say, "Hey rewind. One more time. Can I do that again?"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Peace Box

I may eventually write a blog that is worthy of this new finding, but right now I will just let you see for yourself. And remember to watch the video. And don't know HOW this helps sell their product.

"Major economic and environmental changes are reshaping our society with profound repercussions all over the world, there have been few new products in the field of funeral services.

Naturally our customers have not escaped these developments. This is why our environment-friendly coffin called the PeaceBox represents a breakthrough for funeral directors in terms of material."

The Peace Box

Thursday, December 20, 2007

FEAR is Happening!

So. Since I couldn't make the prime time meeting I did not know right away if the Fear Show was going to happen. It is! So are meeting was justified, and all plans are in effect. The Fool's Machine Collective (on the fucked up island) will live on!!
the Photo is of a happy dance. It is quite happy. It's no dance of the macabre... or is it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Alex the African Grey

The last time Irene Pepperberg saw Alex she said goodnight as usual. "You be good," said Alex. "I love you." "I love you, too." "You'll be in tomorrow?" "Yes, I'll be in tomorrow."

These were the last words in a conversation between a theoretical chemist and her 31 year-old parrot, Alex. He died this year on September 6th. Alex had a vocabulary of 150 words, knew the names of 50 objects and could describe various color and shape patterns of objects, even if he had never seen the combination of characteristics before. He understood the concepts of bigger, smaller, same, and different. He would apologize to his trainers/collaborators if he made a mistake.

This is from the Obituary column in a late September issue of The Economist.

This post is credited to Jessica, as this is her specific interest: animals and death.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Julia Buccola Petta died in 1921 of childbirth. She is buried at Mount Carmel cemetery in Hillside, Illinois. I have visited her grave. She was 29 when she died; her child was stillborn and was buried with her. If you go to Mount Carmel you will see her monument, a reproduction of her wedding photo in sculpted form:

It is remarkably accurate. On her sculpted wrist is a watch, just like the photo from her wedding day. Julia Buccola Petta is also known as "The Italian Bride" or "The Incorruptible Italian Bride." She is the subject of ghost lore, based mostly in fact: after her death, her mother, Philomena, began having vivid dreams of her daughter calling out to her and begging her to exhume her body. Another version involves Julia telling her mother that she was still alive. When the dreams did not stop, Philomena requested that her daughter's body be exhumed, but the Catholic Church would not allow it. It took her about six years to receive permission from the church to bring her daughter's body up from the earth. When they opened her coffin, this is what they saw:

Julia's body was perfectly preserved. They took this photograph of her body, then placed her back in the ground. If you visit Julia's grave, you will see her monument, her wedding photo secured to the base, and the photo from her exhumation beneath that. Incorruptible bodies are normally associated with Catholic saints, the most famous of which is Saint Bernadette of France. Julia Buccola Petta was never canonized but since her exhumation people have claimed to see a woman in a white dress near her grave. She is not a saint, but a myth, and whether her body is still incorruptible is left to speculation.

When I visited her grave, I was fifteen. My understanding of the story at the time was that she had been buried alive, and I looked closely at the photo above to see if the ceiling of the coffin had been scraped away by the panicked fingers of the Italian Bride. I was there with my cousins, and my mom and her sister. For some reason on that sunny spring day almost 15 years ago we thought it would be fun to visit the local cemeteries; our goal was to find the grave of Al Capone, which after much searching we did. It is small, flat, and humble. Not what you would expect.

While at Mount Carmel cemetery my cousin Maggie and I were so absorbed in visiting Julia's grave that we did not notice that everyone left, that in fact they had all gotten in the car and were driving away. They didn't forget us; they just thought it would be funny. We totally freaked out. We were running as fast as we could, yelling, visions of the gates of the cemetery suddenly closing and keeping us trapped between the dead and the living. No doubt Julia would appear with an inviting hand to stay there with her forever.

We got through the gates, though, and the car stopped. They thought it was the funniest thing, and as we caught our breath and our hearts we knew we would need about ten years to find the humor in it. Now, yes, when it comes up in conversation we shake our heads and laugh. But back then, I was terrified. I believed in ghosts when I was fifteen, and I still do. I've read Chicago Haunts all the way through. I've also read Graveyards of Chicago, a great guide for all Chicago-area cemeteries. And I highly recommend visiting a cemetery; there is such beautiful art there, and so many forgotten lives. I visit them because no one else will.

The Dance of Death, Meets the Midnight Wanderings of an Educated Zombie

So, life is a little bit like death for me these days. I don't see the sun because of my odd sleep schedule. In my waking hours I go to meetings, and then I come home and watch videos on super string theory, relativity, chaos theory, and then I read books on death. I fear this isn't so healthy, mostly because of the weird sleep schedule. I barely see people. So this strange thing happened to me Sunday night/Monday morning. I went to sleep around 5am (which is normal lately) and I could not wake up until 6pm Monday night (13 hours asleep) I looked at myself in the mirror. My face was pale, and I had the largest black circles I had ever seen around a pair of eyes. I called in sick for a meeting and tried to go back to sleep. The idea was to try to sleep until around 5am Tuesday so that I could begin a new day with sun in it, to try and switch my schedule around, and perhaps go to bed at midnight or 1am and wake up around 9 or 10 more like normalish people, so that I could see the sun, shop, see friends, my sister, my mom, anyone. But I woke up at midnight, and now my plan is to wander the streets and my apartment, sorting through books and putting them on shelves, reading about death and Gothic literature and perhaps learn to play banjo, and then not got to bed until Midnight. (24 hours awake after sleeping for 17 hours.) We'll see. Anyway... I began searching the internet for classic Gothic texts, and I fell upon a prose book with woodcuts by Hans Holbein called The Dance Of Death. I was searching for interesting texts about death but what I found most impressive were the woodcuts. I am posting one here, but please check them all out. They are cartoony, frightening, beautiful and kind of remind me of a morbid "Where's Waldo."
The Dance Of Death

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chapter 38: A Flat Death

From Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida:

All those young photographers who are at work in the world, determined upon the capture of actuality, do not know that they are agents of Death. This is the way in which our time assumes Death: with the denying alibi of the distractedly "alive," of which the Photographer is in a sense the professional.... This image which produces Death while trying to preserve life.

(video still from Princess Diana's accident scene)

more Barthes:

"He is dead and he is going to die..."

In 1865, young Lewis Payne tried to assassinate Secretary of State W. H. Seward. Alexander Gardner photographed him in his cell, where he was waiting to be hanged. The photograph is handsom, as is the boy: that is the 'studium'. But the 'punctum is: he is going to die. I read at the same time: 'This will be' and 'this has been'... the photograph tells me death in the future.... Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.

Insert photo of coffins returning from Iraq (not available)

A Question of a Caecum Or a Kidney

The doctor said: such and such indicates that you have such and such, but if an analysis of such and such does not confirm this, then we have to assume you have such and such....One simply had to weigh the alternatives: a floating kidney, chronic catarrh, or a disease of the caecum. It was not a matter of Ivan Ilyich's life but a conflict between a floating kidney and a disease of the caecum.

He remembered his medicine, raised himself, took it, then lay on his back observing what a beneficial effect the medicine was having, how it was killing the pain. "Only I must take it regularly and avoid anything that could have a bad effect on me. I feel somewhat better already, much better." He began probing his side--it was not painful to touch. "I really can't feel anything there, it's much better already." He put out the candle and lay on his side--his caecum was improving, absorbing. Suddenly he felt the old, familiar, dull, gnawing pain--quiet, serious, insistent. The same familiar bad taste in his mouth. His heart sank, he felt dazed. "My God, my God!" he muttered. "Again and again, and it will never end." And suddenly he saw things in an entirely different light. "A caecum! A kidney!" he exclaimed inwardly. "It's not a question of a caecum or a kidney, but of life and...death. Yes, life was there and now it's going, going, and I can't hold on to it. Yes. Why deceive myself? Isn't it clear to everyone but me that I'm dying?"
--Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recording the Moment

From the invention of the camera arose the need to record important familial events, including funerals. This website has a good handful of them, and claims that they were bid on through Ebay. I searched on Ebay and sure enough, you can bid on and win the photo of a funeral for some long forgotten relative. Or a photo that claims to be from the funeral of Sharon Tate. That seems very sad to me. It is fascinating, but at the same time very private. I find I can't look at these photos for very long before I feel like I am intruding or something. I am, however, really interested in this need to preserve the funeral moment---people did it often in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries, particularly for their children.

I thought that this was something only of its time--that by the mid-20th century people no longer took photographs of their deceased loved ones laid out before burial. I thought that in time, once the camera became more a part of everyday life, people no longer wanted to use it to acknowledge death. Then I did a Google search this is what came up:

This photo was taken in 2000. It can be found on this website, where it is joined by hundreds of other photos from the same funeral. A lot of the photos are of the flowers, and different angle shots of some of the mourners by the coffin. Check it out, it's strange, intriguing, and freaky.

P.S. Thanks for the invite. Here all my morbid interests will be unleashed.

First Meeting of the new collective

The Collective is dedicated to condensing specific but vast histories down to their essence using abstract physicality, fragmented music, multiple sound systems, foreign influences, and practical lighting. The collective studies its subject for extended amounts of time collaborating with a larger collective via the blog. There should be no less than one entry per week. The fully active Collective holds monthly and/or bi-monthly discussions and workshops all centered around the current subject. The performing cast will scout out locations and times in which to perform one-off experimental shows with invited audiences. (Anywhere from 3 to 10 of these per year.) These performances will take place in basements, small rooms, outdoor locations, practically anywhere we want. The performing cast is based on overall participation, specific interests, and seniority. A full length scripted show with open invitation and extended run will hopefully take place no more than and no less than once a year.

Attendance: John, Kurt, Luke, Jessica, Ryan, Peter, and Evan.
This was a more or less spontaneous meeting and it must be stated that this in no means is the full collective. That is yet to be determined.

First Meeting:
1: Solution to prime time show “Fear.”
This week a show called Fear was proposed in the Neo-Futurist Prime Time Salon. This is a show proposed by Noelle Krimm Benjaman. It is a continuation of her work with Alice. Alice was a project that took place in many stores in Andersonville with many theater groups lead by a hand full of White Rabbits. The idea now is to have a smaller scale version dedicated to the subject of Fear. Noelle wanted the Fools Collective to have the last room (the theater.) She proposed this idea to John, and it so happened that the collective had been working on the subject Death, which seemed to fit in well with the theme of fear. The one problem is: If Fear is put in the prime time rotation it won’t happen until October 2009, which is a little less than two years away. The first topic of the meeting was what to do in the time between then and now. The solution was to work on the subject of Death for a full year and to put up small invited shows based on this topic, and then if after a year this topic has been dealt with to our liking, we will move on to another subject, and a few months before Fear is staged we will resume work on Death.
2: Pursue discussions on the meaning of history and how it relates to our collective.
John had been frustrated with the majority opinion that calling this a study of history was misleading. He has had many discussions with Kurt about what is history, and how do you stage a living history that takes place over hundreds of years in a short amount of time. The history that the collective is exploring is more based in the emotions and the images of history interpreted through metaphors. The concern is how do we help ourselves and the audience to understand this in order to experience the productions with more complexity. Many defenses of what we did were spoken about and we all felt good. We want to keep the study of the study of history an open topic we keep approaching and attacking from different angles.
There were two clear attempts at defining the way in which we tackle history. Evan’s was more of a summing up of how the study of history has changed in our modern times, and Ryan’s was a humorous and accurate metaphor that accidentally created the new name of the collective. Ryan’s explanation will be discussed in the following section. Here is Evan’s:
“In essence, there are two ways that history is generally written. One is a macro-level, descriptive style and the other is a micro-level, narrative style. The first kind is very much related to the way that we are taught history in schools. There are facts and figures, names, dates, and events. It seems very linear and is meant to be objective, though it can never truly be.
The second kind of history deals with such epic events and time periods, but through the lens of people's lives, often their everyday lives or their experiences of single events. The purpose of this approach is to create a narrative of how large scale events affected people on the ground. For example the book by Erik Larson's *Isaac's Storm*. The book tells the story of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, the greatest natural disaster in American history (10,000 people died). By telling the story of Isaac Cline, local head of the National Weather Bureau, and various survivors of the storm, Larson not only speaks to the trials and tribulations of ordinary people, but shows how their experiences reflects larger social, cultural, and political conditions: namely the nascent scientific revolutions as exemplified by the National Weather Bureau's ability to make something as fickle as the weather rational and predictable and the hubris that went along with the science and industrial advancement (the US ignored warnings from backwards Cuba that the storm was coming).
Both of these approaches to history have their place with the current project on death. Certainly their are large sweeping trends on how death has been understood (think of the movements of world religions spreading different philosophies of death and the afterlife), as well as accounts of how people experienced and interacted with death on the ground.”

3: Ryan spoke up and basically said:

“We are feeding timelines into our fool machine and it comes out fractured with different parts influencing different people and being changed into different things, it’s like how when light is shined into a prism it comes out fractured.
we take all of this research and are influenced by it and then it comes out looking different and not like history that we are used to seeing.”

We grouped this statement with a comment Anthony had said during one of the early meetings for The Fool returns To His Chair: “Sure lets continue creating a fucked up island but we need to build a boat that carries the audience to the Fucked Up Island.
And so we decided to call the collective: The Fool Machine Collective (on a fucked up island)
We are still toying with it.

4: Is a visual timeline a continuing concept from show to show? Yes. The structure of the timeline should reflect the topic we are studying. We came up with many ideas on how to create a timeline for Fools including a tree, roots, hidden objects, headphones and disguised audio sources, and Kurt’s Box. We finally decided not to talk about it anymore and to try and let it happen organically.

5: Kurt’s Box. The one idea from the discussion of the timeline will very soon become living reality. Kurt was very interested in John’s initial idea to make the state park and the show in the theater mirror each other with intentional contradictions, actual facts studied in the show and misleading historical enquiries. This is similar to Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass and The Green Box. Kurt has charged us with the continuing dedication to writing out our thoughts on scraps of paper and to give them to him to put in a box of his designing that will sit out at all the collective’s performances.

6: Workshops should focus consistently on contact improvisation as a language. We should explore different approaches to group physicality. Invite companies to works with us with payment.

We also drank and ate food and chatted about other topics. We walked away happy because we actually spoke about more than we expected to. Now the goal is to stay active. We must all work hard to let life affect us and to let reading wash over us, and to let art manifest. It’s what we do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Buried Alive

For a long time people had feared premature burial, and ancient wisdom precautions for avoiding premature burial. CONCLAMATIO was the calling three times in a loud voice the name of the person presumed to be dead. Conclamatio was still in use in the time of Tolstoi; the doctor called his name three times in the railway station where he lay dying. Even today, church protocol dictates that when the pope is on his deathbed, he must be called three times by his Christian name.
- Phillipe Aires, The Hour Of Our Death

I would like to do an experiment with the audience boxes we are considering that plays with the idea of being buried alive by being restricted while watching: maybe some of the boxes can have scratches in them, like someone trying to claw their way out. Maybe we have parts that go completely black, and then the sound systems in the boxes cause the sound outside to be muffled in tone.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I wanted to get a post up, and I've found myself at the computer, so here are some things I've underlined from the big book of death that I found interesting or imagistic, in no particular order, with my own italics...

"...the signs most often mentioned to indicate imminent death in the Middle Ages were signs that today we would call natural: an obvious, routine observation of the common and familiar facts of everyday life."

" ...'I pray you, do not bury my body in this country.' So she was laid in a boat without sails or oars."

"The dying person must be the center of a group of people."

"Ovid relates that on the day of the Feralia, the Day of the Dead, the Romans sacrificed to Tacita, the mute goddess, a fish with its mouth sewn."

"...unfeeling phantoms of exhausted humans...."


"The man of the seventeenth century exhibits a lesser degree of sensitivity [than that of our own] and demonstrates in torture and death a resignation and endurance that we would find astonishing."

"We read that there are many whom the devil has dug up and flung far from the consecrated land."

" more than a block of stone laid over them (imblocati [yes, there's a Latin word for that])to preserve the appearance of the land."

In these first chapters, what I'm thinking about most is the proximity of the dead, as in there seems to be a lot of meaning put in where your bones are laid when you're done; what the meaning is when you're placed closer to a church wall or even inside a church itself, with people walking on you every Sunday and how that's more glorious than being in a field, in a mass grave, in the company of people in your same situation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Grim Reaper

"Our earliest records of the Reaper date back to Greek civilization. Gaia and Uranus were Kronos' parents. Uranus, fearful of all his children including Kronos kept them constrained inside Gaia. Gaia wished to free her children and decided to give Kronos a sickle. With this sickle Kronos eventually castrated his father and bled him to death. Knowing how he had killed his father, once Kronos had children of his own, he feared his fate would be the same. As each child was born he swallowed them one by one.

From ancient folklore and other anthropological sources it is believed that Kronos was a harvest god worshipped by a culture before the Greeks. It is understood that his sickle was used in harvesting grain. Harvest was also associated with death because it signaled the end of the growing season and the beginning of Winter. Time devouring all things was represented poetically by Kronos eating his own children. It was the Greeks very dramatic way of saying nothing lasts forever.

The Grim Reaper wielding a sickle and, at times, an hourglass is directly derived from Kronos. One must understand how important grain was to these ancient civilizations. How horrible the thought of some mystic creature with the power to swipe away their whole harvest with a single swing of the mighty sickle. Not to mention the flock of famished crows, which would accompany such a terrible figure. It undoubtedly symbolized death in an extremely effective way. Though the Grim Reaper poses no real threat to our life, his legacy, which has been handed down from generation to generation, has instilled in us all the fear we need to ensure the desired effect."

There are, of course, different opinions as to where the idea of the Grim Reaper came from, I particularly like the one above, because the historian reminds us that we need perspective when dealing with the subjects level of impact. Today, still, seeing the skeleton holding a sickle is scary. (And cool as a drawing, but if you were actually see the Grim Reaper, I don't think you would grab an air guitar and rock out.) That sickle can be plunged into my head. But to have the resonance of the ability of the sickle to wipe out all grain, all nourishment, doesn't only affect my own perile, but that of my family's and my community's. Perspective. Often when I think about perspective it brings me back to the trip I took to Germany to study castles. One particular castle had extremely tall outer walls, fortifications and parapets, and machicolations for pouring out hot tar onto offending armies. I said to my friend, "Wow they must have been holding gold, diamonds or some important Dignitary." And she said, "No, something more important than that, Salt!" Salt? I immediately pictured a swarm of angry housewives with mixing bowls and Chefs with large wooden spoons pounding on the outer walls of the castle, demanding salt for their souffle. At the time, I knew about, but did not realize the importance of salting the meats, to keep them from spoiling. It wasn't just for seasoning it WAS the preserver of food, the preserver of life itself!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Every Dead Has Its Day

What is it about the irreverence and humor with which Death is portrayed for The Day of the Dead that makes the way we, in mainstream America, cope with death seem so frightened and unhealthy? Should we laugh in the face of death? Well, not so much laugh at it, as invite it into our homes and to walk for a few days on our Earth, all the while poking fun at the foibles of its nonlivingness. Couldn't hurt right? To let loose with a little open gentle mockery of the inevitable. Death wins in the end anyway, why not, instead of being cowed, revel a bit in schadenfreude at its expense?

All photos were taken at the opening of the Día de los muertos exhibit at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Tame Death

I have a darkly lit image of a man in a bed surrounded by shadowy figures. Slowly each figure fades away pulling parts of the bed away, or they are attached to their own clothes. The stripping away leaves the man on a metal frame with no support for his back. As he begins to fall through the metal grid the lights brighten, he falls to the ground as the lights become blinding. He is handed a mop, but there is no water and no dirt. He turns to the audience and says "Hello?" His voice echoes as the lights fade.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Opening statement of the historical performance of death

The Chaos of death disturbs the peace of the living.