For the past two years the non-profit Reimagine organization has been staging annual, city-wide life- and death-affirming festivals in San Francisco and NYC. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Reimagine has canceled the planned NYC festival and pivoted to organizing a two-month long, international online event. Reimagine Life, Loss and Love (May 1 – July … Read more“Reimagine Life, Loss and Love” – an Online Festival Exploring Death and Celebrating Life (May 1 – July 9, 2020)
Religious scholar Reza Aslan investigates the Santa Muerte faith in his Believer documentary series for CNN. While I don’t endorse literal belief in the supernatural, I’m fascinated by the sociology, psychology and aesthetics of this new religion, which is too often sensationalized by the English-speaking media. Shorn of superstition – or at least practiced with … Read moreBeliever: Santa Muerte
In July 2020 Joanna Ebenstein will be offering an 8-hour online course in the history, mystery and art of the memento mori: Death is the great mystery of human life. Each of us – barring some medical miracle – will die. Foreknowledge of our own death is a defining characteristic of humanity; the ancient Greeks … Read moreMake Your Own Memento Mori: Befriending Death with Art, History and the Imagination with Morbid Anatomy Founder Joanna Ebenstein
This charming “docu-musical” tells the true story of the Kiwi Coffin Club, a senior social group in Rotorua, New Zealand who hand-make and decorate their own coffins.
A short 2014 documentary on the history of (and modern practice of creative memorial at) London’s once-forgotten Cross Bones Graveyard. Since the time this video was produced, there have been considerable developments in connection with Cross Bones. Check out the Friends of Cross Bones website for much, much more on this poignant and inspiring story.
Here’s writer/performer Tracey Erin Smith’s podcast memoir of her death-positive production Memento Mori, which was staged for the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival.
In collaboration with the good people at Reimagine’s Life, Loss and Love Festival, I will be giving an illustrated Zoom presentation on this theme on the evening of May 6th. Here’s the presentation description: “Remember death and therefore seize the day!” It’s an ancient and profoundly simple philosophy, but how can members of the emerging … Read more“Creating Countercultural Memento Mori”
Designer Kursat Ozenc has produced a series of articles on the newly-defined creative field of ritual design: Part 1: Introducing Ritual Design: meaning, purpose, and behavior change Part 2: How do you design a ritual? The article series continues on Medium.com and Ozenc’s work is also showcased at the Ritual Design Lab website.
By Tony Wolf My background is in the entertainment industry as a choreographer and sometime-director, with an extracurricular “minor” in ritual. I’ve always been interested in the intersection of creativity, history and psychology, and in the ways those disciplines play out in public celebrations. I was also deeply dissatisfied with the mainstream modern, Western approaches … Read moreThe New Danse Macabre: How and Why I Created a Death-Positive Performance for a 1998 Arts Festival