I will be teaching this upcoming online course via the Morbid Academy, starting August 25:
This course explores an emergent, dynamic and positive response to the existential problem of death denial, centered on the simple philosophical premise of “mortality sapience”; that by remembering death, we can learn to seize the day.
In that spirit, artists, designers and activists are now working to change the mainstream narrative through the media of end-of-life, funerary, memorial and memento mori ritual. Some are the work of individual creators, like Itaru Sasaki’s “telephone of the wind” in Otsuchi, Japan, or of loose collectives, such as the massive All Souls Procession in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Some take place at the cutting edge of ecotechnology, like the laying-in ceremony of recomposition (human composting) funerals. Still others are emerging organically as experiential folk-culture, such as the popular practice of creating street shrines.
By acknowledging death, honoring those who have passed and reminding the living to appreciate their lives, these new rituals serve to connect us, simply and profoundly, as mortal human beings. Taken together, they comprise an emerging praxis of ceremonial innovation.