Fruiting Bodies (2020)
Multimedia installation: Charcoal drawings, video
I read about a drive-by funeral the other day. The subtitle of the article stated “No hugs, no kisses, no mourners and no closure.” The age of Covid-19 has created an environment of chronic grief while not allowing inhabitants to fully submit to it. Death has become tangible. I wonder if this time of tragedy and restless stillness amplifies the ways we as a culture have always coped and grieved our and each other’s mortality—or lack thereof.
Take a memorialized dead bird, seen here for example. Or tearing into the body of one’s daily dose of fiber. Both can serve as equally fertile reminders of our vitality and our impermanence as well as our interdependence in an all-encompassing cycle of consumption, decomposition, and rebuilding. Yet, at what moments does one actually grant oneself the pleasure or horror in pondering our own personal involvement in this organic cycle?
It is my belief that awareness of our own fragility can lead us towards an enlivened sense of intention and gratitude. This work functions as a progeny of the Vanitas tradition. However, it moves beyond the traditional sentiment that death is the end of a line. Instead, it situates death as a dynamic point on a circle in order to facilitate a space for reckoning and reinvention, terrifying and brimming with potential.
This work was exhibited as part of the Whitman College 2020 Senior Thesis Art Show titled "Interstitial"