A fundamental skill in therapy sessions is to assist clients in sleuthing out the source of long-held “should’s” and “suppose to’s” ~ especially the ones that aren’t working very well anymore for the demands and desires of their lives. Once the sleuthing is done, we also endeavor into those topics that are deemed mostly taboo or mythical by family and friends. Death and it’s unconscious pressure on how we live is one of those topics.
This month in Manhattan and Brooklyn “death” is reframed and given fresh perspective through mediums of art. To quote ArtNet News’s senior writer Sarah Cascone, “Over 100 exhibitions are planned for New York’s version of the festival, as well as more than 30 performances, some 60 “interactive rituals,” 15 comedy shows—and, as the website says, ‘1 universal topic.’ ”
Whether you can make it to any of these exhibits (The one where people record themselves over a phone as if having the conversation they wish they’d had before someone they loved died gets my attention but I digress…), so yes, even if you’re not going to head into NYC, consider taking the few minutes here to read Cascone’s summary of the major city-wide event. She captures notions for us to mull over long after the exhibitions have been packed up and stowed away, in basements and in our subconscious.
Here’s her article on Reimagine End Of Life: “For all that death is an inevitability, the topic remains largely taboo, generally tiptoed around in polite conversation. The Reimagine End of Life festival looks to change all that this Halloween season, staging a week-long series of over 250 cultural events and programs designed to explore death, grief, and mourning, featuring artists and art institutions.
Reimagine End of Life was founded by Brad Wolfe. Though his grandparents survived Auschwitz, he conceived of the festival as a response to the death of a close friend during college, as he played music at her bedside to help ease her passing. The festival was first held in San Francisco in April where it attracted 10,000 attendees.
“In a time of so much division, death is one thing we all share that can bring together people from all walks of life,” said Wolfe in a statement. “Our goal is to inspire New Yorkers to reflect on why we’re here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and live fully right until the end. When you enable people to have this conversation as a community, in creative and surprising ways, they often discover that something sad and dark can also elicit laughter, joy, and celebration.”
“Our goal is to inspire New Yorkers to reflect on why we’re here, prepare for a time when we won’t be, and live fully right until the end. When you enable people to have this conversation as a community, in creative and surprising ways, they often discover that something sad and dark can also elicit laughter, joy, and celebration.”
Exploring the close link between love and loss, artist Janine Antoni will lead a walk at Brookyln’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery. Morgan Brown, whose mother died in a car crash when the artist was just 22, will use a small administrative office at Union Theological Seminary to help audience members hold one-way phone conversations with lost loved ones for her project Conversations I Wish I Had.
At ChaShaMa, Spencer Merolla’s exhibition “After a Fashion: The Funeral Clothes Project” features artworks made from clothing that people stopped wearing after the death of a loved one, due to the garment’s close association with loss.
Reimagine End of Life will take place at venues across New York City, October 27–November 3, 2018. Events require RSVP; about half are free of charge.
Thank you, Sarah, for bringing this into our awareness : )