Our Daily Death - Opening Night presented by Kaaitheater, Topaz/In/Finity & Barbara Raes
« Qui apprendroit les hommes à mourir, leur apprendroit à vivre. »
Our contemporary Western culture generally looks on death and dying with fear and denial. In Our Daily Death, we are examining the other side of the coin by welcoming artists and scientists who consider death to be part of our daily life. Their aim is to make life more intense. We look at mourning that isn’t a process of letting go, but a different way of holding on, in our interior world. How can we rethink the symbols and rituals related to death so that they are more connected to life and so that in the future, these themes are not only raised in the run-up to All Saints and All Souls, but every day? As Montaigne said: ‘He who should teach men to die, would at the same time teach them to live.’
Barbara Raes & Katleen Van Langendonck
DISCUSSION Beyond the Spoken
Our society has been deritualized over the past few decades. This crisis comes most sharply into focus with transition rituals surrounding death: we have and are not allowed any time to grieve and we lack the tools to contextualize the mourning process. The fact that so many people eventually crash is often due to unprocessed, unrecognized ‘little funerals’ of life. Will the co-creation of new rituals ensure more social cohesion in this individualised, secular society? Barbara Raes sits down with Katleen Van Langendonck (artistic director Kaaitheater) to discuss the great need for new rituals in a society in flux.
• Barbara Raes researches the development of new spaces for death rituals at the KASK. From October to January, she is coming to the Europalia exhibition Ancestors and Rituals at Bozar (about the Indonesian ancestor cult) with her organization Beyond the Spoken. What is the significance of rituals today?
LECTURE PERFORMANCE Banksje/Little Bench
Two bricks, a ladder and cement: these are the basic ingredients for a Little Bench. To reinforce roofs against storms and wind – and as a commemoration of deceased family members – people put bricks in ridge-tiles on the French-Flemish border. Artist Valentine Kempynck seeks to reinstate this tradition and to provide it with new content, bringing together tradition, actions, and meaning. She is now giving a lecture, and in the summer (21/06) you can build a Little Bench with her.
LECTURE Still Standing: on a piece in progress
An international movement of philosophers and scientists claims that death is an illness that can be conquered with, among other things, technology. What are the implications of this transhumanist utopia for our society, our thought, and art? If every part of a human body can (and will) be replaced, does it have any value? With guests from TOPAZ, he questions perceptions of individuality, meaning, a sense of community, the experience of art, death and life, and the dividing line between them. Now he gives a lecture about creating the installation that combines exhibition and performance.
• Filmmaker Jorge León previously presented the film Before We Go at Kaaitheater, likewise in cooperation with TOPAZ.
WORKSHOP Forever Kids (6-8y).
Jorge León explores playful perspectives on the theme of immortality with and for children.