[DISCLAIMER: This details of work are embargoed until after the date of performance(16/6/16) at the request of the producer.]
Making an interactive installation for a working funeral home brings up many things, not least how much time I could spend working on different ideas. Could be a life’s work. At last years Dark Mofo I staged a work called Funeral and now I’ve been asked to contribute a work to The Funeral Party at this years Dark Mofo. It’s a field I feel I could mine for a long time. Most other concepts don’t seem to hold a candle to this one in terms of importance. Especially when I’ve seen it firsthand.
The Funeral Party takes place at the Turnbull Funeral Home in Hobart. Multiple spaces will be activated, each by different artists.
My work, Last Words in a Hearse involves people being being plucked from the audience and led out of the funeral home, through the carpark and into one of three secluded hearses where they will lie down where the coffin would otherwise sit, and be left alone. Sombre music plays. A 9pre-recorded) voice eventually prompts the participant to think about what they’d like to leave as a message for those they’ll never see again now that their time is over. They are given a minute to think about it before they’re final words are recorded onto a system clandestinely installed in the hearse and automatically triggered upon entry.
At the completion of the recording the participant is told (again via pre-recorded voiceover) that their time of reflection has come to an end and that they must now leave (just as all ceremonies of the dying must come to an end), but that they are free to take their time in rejoining the world of other humans.
The voice then tells them the location of an envelope hidden in the hearse. They are to take this and to open it in their own time. The enclosed letter explains that their last words have been recorded and archived for posterity and for their loved ones. At their request (via the email address given) they can request a copy of their last words, to share (or not) as they see fit.
Additionally, all last words will be posted anonymously on www.lastwordsinahearse.com It is hoped that this repository of last words can grow over time as the work is revisited and/or repeated in various future contexts and that the website itself can become a work that stands alone as a type of place of reflection.