Popular Science Description (in Swedish)

Konsten att sörja i gemenskap har varit ett mänskligt behov sedan urminnes tider. De gamla Sumererna beklagade sina städers fall redan runt 2.100 f.Kr. Efter tusentals år håller denna konstform på att dö ut. Vårt forskningsprojekt utforskar klagosjungandet med utgångspunkt i 1600-talets Léçons de Ténèbres (på svenska Lektioner i dödens skugga). Dessa ’lektioner’ kontemplerar minnet av Jerusalems fall år 586 f.Kr. Michel Lambert’s nio Léçon de Ténèbres gestaltades i Paris c.1660 och denna musik blir platsen där vår studie inleds. Härifrån utvecklar vi nio samtida audiovisuella 'lektioner', sammanvävande originalmusiken och de bibliska klagovisornas ord med nya konstnärliga gestaltningar.

Oavsett kultur och epok ställs vi alla inför sorg och död i livet. Traditionellt har sörjandet varit kvinnliga gråterskors uppgift. Att vårda de döende och beklaga förluster. Projektet undersöker hur ’konsten att sörja’ kan fungera som ett verktyg vid personliga och kulturella katastrofer. Tillsammans med ett internationellt nätverk av konstnärer och forskare sammanväver vi det historiska klagosjungandet med de sista kvarvarande traditionerna av klagosång. Lektionerna genomförs i Jerusalem – den arketypiska staden som sörjer men trots allt lever vidare mitt i pågående förlust. Jerusalem blir i projektet en symbol för en fallande och sårad mänsklighet.

Ekologiskt och politiskt utmanas våra städer i rollen som fungerande skyddszon. Trångboddhet, föroreningar, ensamhet, kriminalitet, och psykisk ohälsa ökar dagligen. Jerusalems fall och de bibliska klagosångernas narrativ kommer i vår studie att betraktas som ett musikaliskt manuskript som visar på hur vi kan förhandla med vår egen tids stora kriser och trauman. Genom att om-figurera ’konsten att sörja’ till lektioner av musikalisk rörelse i vår egen samtids sårbarhet, bidrar projektet med strategier för att åter lära hur man kan vårda och kurerar personligt lidande och gemensam sorg.







The research project 'Lessons in the Shadows of Death' explores and exposes an almost lost tradition of public mourning - the Art of Lamentation. The project follows the structure of the 17th century musical genre 'Leçons de Ténèbres' – traditionally composed as vocal  ‘lessons’ performed during Easter week contemplating the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC and based on the Biblical Lamentations.

The overall purpose is to create and promote an intra-active 'grief-entangled' music practice in relation to public mourning and wounds of loss. Previous artistic research on vocal mad scenes, lamentations and Nothingness (Laasonen Belgrano 2011) and performance philosophical explorations of apophenia and autopoesis (Price 2017) has since 2019 merged and developed into a growing archive investigating ‘ornamentation-as methodology’.

The primary aim of this project is to transform the ornamented music and words of Michel Lambert’s nine 'Leçons de Tenebres' from 1661 into nine video-essays. Together with an international network of artists and scholars we will bring the 17th century musical mourning to a contemporary Jerusalem – a city which lives as a symbol of any falling, wounded and embodied space-time. The project reconfigures the Art of Lamentation as a living practice for a wounded world in need of re-learning how to attend to existential consciousness and communal grief.


Elisabeth Laasonen Belgrano, PhD, Vocal Performative Philosophy / MA, Systematic Theology (PI)

Mark D. Price, PhD, Performance Philosophy

Petra Carlsson Redell, PhD, Systematic Theology

Anna Hjälm, PhD, Cultural Geography

Jonas Ideström, PhD, Practical Theology


Advisory Board

Will Daddario, PhD, USA (Theatre/Performance-Philosophy/ Grief)

Rick Dolphijn, PhD, The Netherlands (Philosophy)

Liv Kristin Holmberg, Performance Artist /PhD Candidate, Norway /Germany (Artistic Research / Liturgy)

Einav Katan-Schmid, PhD, Israel (Dance/Performance Philosophy/Pedagogy)

Daniel A. Siedell, PhD in Art History / Curator / PhD Candidate, USA (Curatorial praxis/ Art History /Theology)

This is a research project following the traces of artistic exploration and archive NO SELF CAN TELL 


The overall purpose of this project is to re-invigorate the Art of Lamentation by interweaving the early modern musical genre Leçons de Ténèbres with present-time experiences of collective and personal crisis.


Working with an international network of performers and scholars we will explore and develop intra-active entanglements of wounds of loss, and transformative practices of lamenting. This project will also enable an expansion of previous artistic research on how to vocally perform Nothingness in Italian and French 17th century operatic scenes of madness and lamentation (Laasonen Belgrano 2011), where results pointed toward the importance of acknowledging longing and desire as primary passions for existential care and wellbeing.


Michel Lambert’s setting of Lecons de Ténèbres (c. 1661) offers a fine opportunity to reconfigure the entanglement of words from the Biblical Lamentation reflecting the destruction of the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the elaborative musical ornamentations specific to the genre of French mid 17 century vocal practice, and various musical, social and historical traditions of mourning and wailing.


Music is often said to heal existential wounds. The underlying assumption is that it is possible and desirable to move from wound to no-wound, restoring a previous state of completion. This project uses that most archaic form of music – the lamentation - to explore the idea that wounds seldom heal in that way: rather, they transform, reconfigure, and intra-act with what is lived and experienced. Building upon our work with updated musical techniques from the Renaissance,  inspired by Deleuze, Blanchot, Weil, Barad, and Dolphijn, we sound out alternatives to the dyads of wounding/healing, madness/ sanity, and death/life as opposites. The research intends to provide answers to the artistic and experiential questions of how to integrate rather than repress or eliminate the 'negative' halves of those dyads.


Our research emphasises the social potentials of 'the work of mourning'. It is widely accepted that the re-negotiation of trauma can be effective in the 'personal realm' of psychotherapy and existential counselling. What is less well acknowledged is the potentials of artistic and social adaptations to collective trauma. As a species we are struggling to find adequate responses to the wounds of our planet, the wounds of our humanity. This research aims to highlight how we, collectively, and the life of our non-human support systems, are entangled with each other, in life and death (Laasonen Belgrano & Price, Borrowed Time, 2021 and 2022).


We aim to clarify how and why it would be wise to better acknowledge the role of collective lamentation and mourning. Our suspicion is that avoiding such acknowledgement causes deeper wounds. Grief is increasingly framed as a personal issue: a 'privatisation' which echoes the privatisation of depression and substance abuse as 'personal problems' though they are now at epidemic levels (Fisher, 2012). As Fisher contends, this 'privatisation' of suffering is a political tactic of late capitalism, a cost-effective response to the alienation and anxiety of every city on the planet. In 2022, after years of debate, the globally influential psychiatric diagnostic handbook (DSM) first included ''prolonged grief disorder'' (APA 2022).  This new medicalisation of grief requires new reflections on the cultural positioning of 'natural' responses to death and lamentation. In this respect the research aims to contribute to the often unspoken politics of remembering and forgetting (Lindal et al. 2022).


We aim to artistically explore Lambert’s nine Lecons de Ténèbres (Massip 1999) through intra-actions (Barad 2014) with various models of grief from a range of religious and non-religious traditions. Jewish, Christian, and Islamic rites will be important, but also the secular incompatibilities of 'medicalised' and 'individual solutions', along with the lived social experience of deep-rooted religious and political wounds. Thus, a Baradian 'cross-cutting' of times and cultures is essential. To counterbalance this wide scope we focus our work on cities, wherein the collective wounds of humanity are most apparent (Corless & Price 2023). From an ecological perspective it might be said that the city is a wound in nature, and in wounding nature to such an extent we inevitably wound ourselves (Price & Laasonen Belgrano 2023). Due to its centrality to our core texts and its globally fateful history, we aim to focus on Jerusalem as the archetypal city - the city which never stops bleeding. We aim to ''cross-cut'' time and place, using the Lecons de Tenebres to both highlight ancient resonances and to make new connections between 586 BC, the 17th century AD, and cities of the present day.


The primary aims in this project are:
 to artistically and philosophically transform the ornamented music and words of Michel Lambert’s nine Leçons de Tenebres from c. 1660 into nine video-essays in collaboration with an international network of artists and scholars.
• to critically analyse various models of grief from a range of religious and non-religious traditions through artistic research results, lamentation practices, ornamentation, and new materialist perspectives on wounds, entanglement and dis/continuous space-time-mattering.
• to produce a portfolio of artistic and pedagogic outputs which will serve fellow creators, academics, and support workers as a resource for exploring positive responses to loss and grief.

The overall purpose:
• To make available new musical and philosophical resources addressing the present-day necessity for the Arts of Lamenting, through performance-led developments of Michel Lambert’s nine 17th century Lecons de Ténèbres (Lessons in the Shadows of Death).


2. STATE of the ART


Diamanda Galas' ''Plague Mass' (1991) must be noted as a landmark in the field of recent lamentation practice. Her performances for the dead and dying changed public perceptions of AIDS/HIV and her later work 'Defixiones' (2003) for the victims of the Armenian genocide is similarly relevant. For Galas, the work of lamentation is 'separate from a safe and useless concept of ''music''' and aimed 'to encourage action' in the face of trauma and death (Galas, in RE/Search, 'Angry Women', San Francisco, 1991).


Habits of thought and embodied practice may need to be forgotten, in order to develop new ones. This strikes us as an opportunity to share and cross-pollinate our investigations in Jerusalem with the artistic researchers Lindal, Larsson and Jutterström (2023) who are presently investigating the positive role of forgetting in their project ''Lethe''. Laasonen Belgrano's research practice is at the forefront of these new sonic possibilities (Belgrano 2016, 2020, Uehara & Belgrano 2020). Elizabeth Talbot’s (2008) work on Karelian lamentation is useful in its contextualisation of how a threatened tradition is being kept alive. Jerusalem provides us with one of the few ‘live cultural environments’ where lamentation practice is still vitally linked to the barely remaining traditions of Europe and North America.    


The Northern English Lyke-Wake Dirge tradition is important here because it overtly connects music and narratives from Pre-Christian, Christian, and even Islamic and Jewish ideas of the journey of the dead. It is plausibly related to the Islamic tradition of the Al-Sirat. These are not simply vague poetic associations but close narrative parallels (Pittaway 2016, Early Music Performance and Research). The Irish Caointeoireacht or ''keening'' is the traditional vocal lament for the dead in the Celtic tradition. It now exists only as a cultural remnant, though some are trying to revive the practices. Keening was once an integral part of Irish funerary rituals but declined from the 18th century and was almost completely extinct by the middle of the 20th century. Only a handful of authentic songs were recorded from traditional singers (Heaney 2022).


Thus in terms of music the state of play can be described as follows: throughout 'the Western world' the lamentation tradition now mainly exists in two related forms: firstly, as sonic museum pieces and attempts at 'authentic reproductions' such as Alasdair Roberts' No Earthly Man (2019). Secondly, as semi-popular new works such as those of Diamanda Galas, Nick Cave, and Joshua Ben Joseph, which are fine vocal pieces by fine singer-songwriters: but they are no longer woven into actual memorial and funeral practices. 


Outside of music in wider popular culture the writings of JG Ballard and the movies of David Cronenberg might be considered as (at least partly) joyful 'lamentations' for a model of humanity which has become obsolete. The cinema of catastrophe is also a relevant genre for reasons stated by Zizek: “Disaster movies might be the only optimistic social genre that remains today, and that's a sad reflection of our desperate state. The only way to imagine a Utopia of social cooperation is to conjure a situation of absolute catastrophe” (Yuran & Zizek 2002, Ha'aretz). Likewise in popular culture, multi-player and online 'eco-disaster' games (Habitactics, Plasticity, and Beyond Blue) and post-apocalyptic games (The Last of Us, Dying Light, Fallout) may serve as cognitive and affective rehearsals for or responses to imminent catastrophe.  


Current specialist academic research includes John Goldingray's 2022 book on the Hebrew book of Lamentations, and Achille Mbembe's book 'Necropolitics' (2019). Heather Pool's work 'Political Mourning: Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy' (2022) is important as is Sarah Coakley’s and Kay Kaufman Shelemay’s (2007) edited volume on pain and transformation for understanding how meaning can appear through the experience of pain. 'Lamentations Through the Centuries' (2013) by Joyce et al. is of high interest, and the work of Rick Dolphijn (2021) who explores the alchemical laboratory of wounds in his recent meditative writings.


The task of the mourner, the artist, the therapist, and the confessor are somewhat convergent. Careful listening and 'giving voice' to trauma and injustice are preconditions for transformation. A re-evaluation of the past and how we remember it is essential. Despite such convergences we recognise many crucial differences between artistic practices, sacraments/rituals, and therapeutic interventions (Devassia, J. and Madsen Gubi, P. 2022, in Mental Health, Religion and Culture, Vol 25, no. 3 pp263-275). Our artistic practice develops new processes of meaning-making which are of interest and use to all three areas, but our primary focus is the creation of original music and words. To articulate the wounds of our own epoch these new Lamentations must be time-specific and site-specific, and also vitally connected to their deep historical roots.  


           The ART of LAMENTATION

           LEÇONS de TENEBRES


In re-working the Lecons de Tenebres we will be bringing together and cross-cutting different philosophical, religious, vocal practices and cultural principles: thus far, no large-scale syncretic work of this nature has been done. The main significance of the research is threefold: a critical re-evaluation of Lamentation traditions, new artistic work to extend those traditions, and an assessment of their relevance to contemporary modes of mourning.

This functions on at least three levels:

a) Artistic significance: to create and record novel material based around the structures of the traditional texts, with the aim of re-invigorating one of the oldest (human) art forms.

b) Academic significance: to present a wide-ranging account of the practices of vocal lamentation from its earliest dawn to the present day, culminating in observation and analysis of our own performances.

c) Practical/ pedagogic significance: both (a) and (b) will inform further practice-led research and pedagogy in the vocal arts, theology, and performance philosophy. Beyond this, we hope that our new HEI course will develop directly from the research and serve as important resource for future carers, educators, priests, and counsellors, helping to anchor their contemporary practices in a deep cultural history.

By mapping the rises and falls of lamentation practice and in making our new ornamentation techniques widely available to the artistic community, we aim to disseminate the research well beyond the obvious university and artistic circles. We will make our outputs as 'portable' and adaptable as possible, accessible for secular audiences and worshippers in a wide range of venues both secular and sacred.

We are using a creative methodology which is novel but also tried and tested - our adaptations of the Renaissance 'ornamentation' methods. Over the last three year we have ''road-tested'' and refined these new processes. Others are pursuing the classic modes of ornamentation in musicology and performance, but to the best of our knowledge nobody else is exploring the wider implications of ’ornamentation’ as a cross-disciplinary research method. Our research involves musical, literary, theological, philosophical and sociological vectors. Thus another novel and significant use of our approach is the utilization of lamentation to bridge disciplinary gaps which have in many cases widened to chasms and fragments. We will share this highly flexible and transferable methodology to benefit local and international researchers in a wide variety of disciplines to create further connections, art-works, and practical knowledge. Our outputs will include novel and significant suggestions for incorporating the arts of lamentation into contemporary rituals and practices of mourning.



The following artistic research projects are highly significant for constructioning the currrant project "Lessons in the Shadows of Death":

‘“Lasciatemi morire” o farò “La Finta Pazza”: Embodying Vocal Nothingness on Stage in Italian and French 17th century Operatic Laments and Mad Scenes.‘ (Laasonen Belgrano 2006-2011, doct. diss.)

This music research drama thesis explores and presents a singer’s artistic research process from the first meeting with a musical score until the first steps of the performance on stage. The aim has been to define and formulate an understanding in sound as well as in words around the concept of pure voice in relation to the performance of 17th century vocal music from a 21st century singer’s practice-based perspective with reference to theories on nothingness, the role of the 17th century female singer, ornamentation (over-vocalization) and the singing of the nightingale.  As a result of this study, textual reflections parallel to vocal experimentation have led to a deeper understanding of the importance of considering the concept of nothingness in relation to Italian 17th century vocal music practice, as suggested in musicology. The concept of je-ne-sais-quoi in relation to the interpretation of French 17th century vocal music, approached from the same performance methodology and perspective as has been done with the Italian vocal music, may provide a novel approach for exploring the complexity involved in the creative process of a performing artist.


Leçons de Ténèbres (Laasonen Belgrano 2014-2019)

The aim of this project has been to investigate vocal ornamentations part of French baroque composer Michel Lambert's (1610-1696) 'Leçons de Ténèbres. It's main focus has been on exploring  vocal performance practice diffracted through Karen Barad's theory on 'agential realism' and Japanese philosopher Kitarō Nishida's concepts of Action-Intuition'. A collaboration with Prof. Mayuko Uehara, Univ. of Kyoto, Japan. Results have been  presented in it two different book chapters (Laasonen Belgrano 2020, Uehara & Laasonen Belgrano 2020), peer-reviewed papers ( 2018, 2019), and conference performances (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).

50% Death (Price 2017) is a book-length prose-poem, accompanied by a large critical commentary. Using randomization techniques derived from shamanism and surrealism, the work developed a series of inter-woven and coherent narratives and set of characters via associative strategies. It functions as a literary ‘Rorschach test’ in which the reader is required to take an active role, insisting that the main value of ‘creative writing’ is the encouragement of ‘creative reading’. The arts have largely been sacrificed as commodities, and the work described itself as ‘casting lots for the robe of crucified literature’. The methods of literary elaboration in the thesis lead directly to the ornamentation methods Price went on to develop with Laasonen-Belgrano.

No Self Can Tell (Laasonen Belgrano & Price 2019 - ongoing)

This research explores 'ornamenting' as a transferable method in inter-disciplinary studies, inter-faith dialogues and artistic/therapeutic practices. Adapting techniques of Renaissance musicology, the processes we have developed de-create and re-create vital connections. It is a communications strategy for times of crisis. Starting with simple sonic relations we extend the method far beyond its traditional musical setting. The practice utilises 'Nothingness' as a component of creativity, providing a novel response to figurations of nothingness as mere negation. Preliminary results suggest its potential as a counter force to nihilism and social dislocation.

The work divides into four areas. 1. Primary research on relationships between sound, meaning, and the sense(s) of self, exploring how sense is made of Otherness via processes akin to musical praxis: consonance, dissonance, 'pure voice' and ornamentation. 2. To apply this new perspective to a range of exile experiences – mourning, social disconnection, ex-communication and aggressive 'Othering'. 3. To investigate the cancelling of normal time-conditions in crisis situations such as trauma, dementia, and mystical experience, relating non-linear temporality to creative practice and healing. 4. To widely disseminate our results and methods as contributions to the methodology of artistic research via journal articles, live workshops and performances, and a book of original, praxical, testable, and teach-able interventions.

Selected results presented at international conferences include: Ornamentations in the Shadows of Death: a Vigil-Performance-Ritual (2021), Performing Nothingness. A Vocal Meditation (2021), Whispers from the Abyss (2022), Letting Nothing Do Itself (2022)



5.1. Implementation

Nine semi-scripted video essays will be creatively 'seeded' by Lambert's Leçons and re-configured as ornamented ‘Lessons in the Shadows of Death’. These will be then be staged, performed, documented and archived. It is essential for our project that all contemporary ‘lessons' are rooted in and performed in the context of the wounded and continuously lamenting city of Jerusalem.  Locations for all nine  lessons have been researched and provisionally selected by the PIs and Dr Anna Hjälm, director of STI in Jerusalem.

Artists and scholars engaged with the praxical Art of Lamenting will be invited to participate in the exploratory lessons. The STI has a long research history in Jerusalem, specializing in theological studies. Laasonen Belgrano was at the institute in 2014 as a guest researcher while studying the Biblical Lamentations vocally at various locations and establishing connections with local scholars, musicians, journalists and local inhabitants. This was at a time of extreme tension between the various cultural, political, and religious groups of the city, but the STI is an excellent host organization and a unique part of this project. Dr Hjälm and her colleagues have extensive experience working with a wide range of local organizations. She has cultivated a large and safe network of contacts. STI is a zone for dialogue between groups, an in-between space for nuanced intra-actions and dialogues. It is well-regarded and well-trusted by all the diverse parties. Therefore we have a unique opportunity to access places, people, and research materials which would otherwise be unavailable to European researchers, or indeed to local researchers whose real or presumed affiliations might close some doors to them.

What will be done:

• A wide-ranging study of lamentation practices in ritual performances and public practices, along with accounts of the historical and academic contexts which make sense of them. This will be done with the help of conversations with celebrants, artists and others

•Research in place: investigating the sites, related contextual studies, searching for archival material and situations to work within. We envisage STI as a central 'laboratory' and the nine specific sites as 'field research zones'.

• Staging recording processes at the selected locations. This will be done with all necessary sensitivity, under the advice of Dr Hjälm and all relevant local authorities. It is entirely necessary for our praxis and ideas to be 'field-tested'. The process will be recorded for feedback, critical analysis and improvement.

• Participatory activities with fellow performers and scholars, and workshops with an invited audience.

• Partial presentations, workshops and discussions about the ongoing project, as well as feedback through conferences and collaboration with colleagues.

• The strengthening of links between STI, EHS and other institutions, and the cultivation of new cross-disciplinary connections between international researchers.

Project outcome:

• Music performances and writings, including documentation of their production process will be curated as part of the already prepared RC expo 'LESSONS in the SHADOWS of DEATH'. The expo will be the foundation for a variety of in-situ performances, seminars. conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications. The RC expo will serve as a digital hub for collecting and distributing multimedia data and writings between research team participants throughout the whole project.

• We will produce nine video-essays of at least ninety minutes in total. ''Lessons in the Shadows of Death'' will be ornamented audio-visual meditations seeded by Lambert’s Lamentations (c.1660).
• two international conference performance presentations each year.
• three academic papers/expos will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication such as JAR, VIS, Journal of Performance Philosophy, and Journal for Performance, Religion and Spirituality

• A book-length work of academic/practical research, detailing "Ornamentation-as-Methodology". This will disseminate our methods, set-backs, successes, research conclusions and suggestions for future research and learning in higher education (Performance/Art/Theology). Potential publisher: Performance Philosophy Book Series/ Rowman & Littlefield.

• a post-graduate course 'PERFORMATIVE THEOLOGY & ORNAMENTING-as-CURATORIAL PRAXIS' , 7,5 HEC. Advanced level. For students in human right studies, theology, existential philosophy & performative arts, hosted by UCS (EHS) from fall term, Autumn 2026.

5.2 Method & Theory

Lambert's Lessons of the 1660’s were above all performed pieces, and their notation a guide to living meditation practices of the French Holy week rituals. Thus a 'lesson' is an open series of intra-actions between the participants, human and inhuman, with no 'director' apart from the process itself. Lambert’s score is a guide and our locations in Jerusalem must be active participants: they are the 'vital matter' of the project. The locations have been selected as places of wounding, unique zones where sonic lamentation practices are still living traditions. Our research is practice-led and outcome-oriented, so while theory forms an important strand of our project it is not a separate item which is 'applied' to practice from without. Barad's concept of 'entanglement' is important here: while drawn from the philosophy of physics, Barad's ideas are crucial to an understanding of voice artistry as an embodied but not entirely 'human' process: ’The very nature of materiality is an entanglement. Matter itself is always already open to, or rather entangled with, the ”Other”. Our methodological approach de-centralises ‘the human’ by acknowledging that 'the human' is always already constituted by its entanglement with ecology of non-human forces. By re-connecting and entangling Lambert's Leçons with the sites of their original wound-locations in Jerusalem, we will excavate deep traditions and creatively re-interpret them as a 'present history' of the city and its living lamentation practices (Jill Middlemas, 2021).   


Barad's concepts of cutting together-apart and entanglement are valuable tools for making connections between styles of lamentation, between cultures and centuries: ”Entanglements bring us face to face with the fact that what seems far off in space and time may be as close or closer than the pulse of here and now […] The past is never finished once and for all, and out of sight may be out of reach but not necessarily out of touch” (2007:394). In this respect we find an ally in early works of Michel Foucault whose analysis of history as a non-linear, fragmentary and inter-folded set of processes remains relevant. More recently, post-Foucaultian theoretical work by Alchille Mbebme (Necropolitics 2019) on the space of death and loss is relevant to the project. With these theories we explore the question – are we witnessing the terminal decline of lamentation, and if so, should we lament the loss of lamentation - and if so, how?


The newest methodological string to our bow is the ornamentation techniques we have developed during three years of research practice. This is now a tried-and-tested set of methods, based on three PhDs (Price, 2003: Price, 2017), and Laasonen-Belgrano's PhD thesis on Performance of Nothingness and ornamentation (2011). The method has fuelled our ''No Self Can Tell' project (2019-present). Ornamentation traditionally begins with a music manuscript, which is performed as a research-meditation-through-action. We have successfully applied our methods to a wide range of texts, creating dozens of high-quality outputs (see references). As with prayer and chant, the key elements are repetition, close attention, and a commitment to patience while allowing something which is not 'one's self'' to 'voice itself'. We will start each video essay with the opening of the score in its related situation in Jerusalem, developing new ornaments which are open to local sounds and the 'irrationality of Lambert's score' (Massip 1999); allowing Lambert's text to cross-cut and mutate with the on-site materail via over-vocalisation methods.

Allowing the on-site 'raw material' to take an active role in the research requires admitting that sounds and words develop a life of their own. We wish to allow the vocalisations as full and free a life as possible. Our methods are centrally concerned with opening the artist/researcher to new kinds of encounters with the unknown: to trust the voicings to the fullest extent. In harmony with the theories of Bennet, Barad, Dolphijn, and Ỏ Maoilearca we see possibilities of re-evaluating and overcoming 'the wounds of nihilism' through the imminent self-organisation of the 'ordinary world'. Another novel element of our method is the utilization of sound to bridge disciplinary gaps which have in many cases widened to chasms and fragments. We will share this highly flexible and transferable methodology to benefit researchers in a wide variety of disciplines to create further connections. The ornamentation method involves a kind of 'radical passivity' to sound, alongside 'deep listening' and active documentarian approaches borrowed from sonic anthropology and ethnography (Abigail Wood, 2015).


Practical and communitarian issues are important to the project: instead of the traditional theoretical models of a community based on similar or self-same 'individuals', we recognise newly emerging theories of community which use ideas of 'sympathy', 'intimacy', 'inclusion' and ‘touch’ beyond the humanist principle of self- identity. As Jane Bennet has shown, there is a democratic but anti-humanist impetus to be found in 'an older, more bodily definition of sympathy as a physics or network of affinities between natural bodies'' (Bennet 2016:610). Bennet's theoretical work coheres well with our research. An aesthetic and musical engagement with others means to connect in ways which do not reduce 'their' differences from 'us' to sameness. We have reason to hope that explorations of lamentations may offer new ways to re-think and re-encounter 'self' and 'community'.

We must stress that our research does not presuppose a specific community, especially not a community of shared values or beliefs. To enter into ornamental practices and ornamental thinking is to be enchanted by one's thoughts and actions again, because they are not precisely ''one's own''. Nor are they the thoughts and actions of 'the other' participant(s). Untethered from an egoic understanding which implies 'taking up a position', the ornamentation process opens onto an experiential space where something genuinely new might enter in: a 'temenos' with no requirement for belief, no commitment to dogma or metaphysical speculations. The ornamentation method avoids the prejudice that there are separate, pre-existing parts which enter into external relations – a questioner and an answerer, a self and an Other, 'your culture' meeting 'my culture', the judge and the accused. Obviously, the process of ornamentation involves sensations, experiences, perhaps even words and concepts which connect the 'being' of the participants. But the 'beings' are co-creative and produced against the ground of a third term which is 'no-thing'. This tendency to allow the voicings and affects to displace egoic consciousness seems especially pronounced in the realm of lamentations.






5.3 Timeplan

• Year 1. January - An initial preparatory meeting at STI Jerusalem, visiting all nine locations where LESSONS will be staged, explored and curated. Library studies and networking with local participants. May – 1st Lesson. July/August (Tischa beAv) – 2nd Lesson. October – 3rd Lesson. Writing, recording and documenting will continuously be performed in Jerusalem and in the home countries of researchers. Meeting with advisory board in the autumn.

• Year 2. March / April (Easter) – 4th Lesson. July/Aug  5th Lesson. October – 6th Lesson. Writing, recording and documenting time will continuously be performed in Jerusalem and in the home countries of researchers. Meeting with advisory board in the autumn.

• Year 3. January –7th Lesson. March / April (Easter) – 8th Lesson. July/August – 9th Lesson. Autumn: Univ. course (Advanced) in PERFORMATIVE THEOLOGY, 7,5 hp at UCS (EHS). October – Exposition/Symposium: presentation of ’NINE LESSONS in the SHADOWS of DEATH’, at EHS, Stockholm. Delivery of research results in the form nine video essays; a book presenting the praxical ornamenting methodology published through the Performance Philosophy Book Series/ Rowman & Littlefield.


5.4 Organisation

Research Group

- Elisabeth Laasonen Belgrano, PhD in Theatre and music Drama, Univ. of Gothenburg (2011). MA in Systematic Theology University College Stockholm (2024), Priest candidate (2021). Project leader /PI.

- Mark D. Price, PhD in Philosophy (2002), PhD in Poetics (2017). Bolton University, Manchester UK. 

- Anna Hjälm Pettersson, PhD in Cultural Geography. (2012) Director, Swedish Theological Institute Jerusalem.

- Petra Carlsson Redell, PhD in Religious studies and Theology (2012). Prof. in Theology, Univ. College Stockholm. 

- Jonas Ideström, PhD in Religious studies and Theology (2009). Prof. in Theology, Univ. College Stockholm.


Dr. Laasonen Belgrano (PI) and Dr. Price will be sharing research activities, RC archive expo, and all project coordination equally. Their work time will be 50% for each of them to be paid by the project for all three years. As PI Laasonen-Belgrano is uniquely qualified for this project:  she is an active vocalist and artistic researcher, a theologian, a trained existentialist counsellor, she knows the Hebrew language as well as the city of Jerusalem. Price is experienced in inter-generational trauma research, philosophy, poetry and music practice, and aesthetics.

Dr. Hjälm holds a PhD in cultural geography (2012) and has extensive knowledge of the city of Jerusalem.  She will contribute to the project from her position as Director and scholar at STI in Jerusalem. Her salary is cared for by The Swedish Church.

Dr. Carlsson Redell is a priest, theologist and activist writing extensively on radical theology, new materialism, mysticism, and the arts (2014, 2018, 2019). Dr. Ideström is also priest and theologian specializing in pastoral care, ecclesiology, and practical theology, while currently being head of Religious Studies at UCS. Both will contribute towards the course activities (autumn 2026, Performative theology, 7,5 hp, A.). Their salaries are cared for by UCS (EHS).


The course we will create as part of this project feeds directly into the UCS offering on human rights and democracy: the course will also be available to arts and music students nationally and internationally.


Crucially for the project, our colleagues at the STI have extensive experience working with a wide range of local organizations and a large, safe network of contacts. STI is a zone for dialogue between groups, an in-between space for nuanced intra-actions and dialogues. It is well-regarded and well-trusted by all the diverse parties,and thus a perfect space for staging  the ‘lessons’ 


Advisory Board

- Will Daddario, PhD, USA (Theatre/Performance-Philosophy/ Grief), - Rick Dolphijn, PhD, The Netherlands (Philosophy), - Einav Katan-Schmid, PhD, Israel (Dance/Performance Philosophy/Pedagogy), - Liv Kristin Holmberg, Performance Artist /PhD Candidate, Norway /Germany (Artistic Research / Liturgy). - Daniel A. Siedell, Art curator/PhD candidate, USA (Curatorial praxis/ Art History /Theology).


The board contains specialists in the performing arts, music praxis, liturgy, theology, philosophy, grief, and bereavement counselling. They will actively contribute to the ‘lessons’ as co-creators as well as acting in the role of advisors.



Basic needs: Computers, microphones and camera for documentation, software, projectors, literature.


University College Stockholm (EHS) and Theological Institute Jerusalem (STI) have all agreed to provide our project with relevant research infrastructures including libraries and study space. The project group are at present working online at a distance which will continue throughout the full project period.



Karen Barad (Gender Studies / Philosophy / Physics/Justice, Silvia Battista (Performance, Religion and Spirituality/Experimental Theatre/ Activism), Anna Lindal (Artistic Research / violin), Mat Osmond (artist, poet, ecological activist), Lars Iyer (Literature / Philosophy), Laura Cull O'Mallarche (Performance Philosophy), Kerstin Dillmar (Priest, Sigtunastiftelsen/ Theology / Art/ Palliative Spiritual Care), Kamilla Skarström de Hinojosa (Theology/Hebrew), Karin Brygger (Writer), Solmund Nystabakk (Artistic Research/Theorbo), Berit Norbakken (Singer/ PhD candidat in Artistic Research), Anna Heikkinen (Singer), Emma Kuittinen (Singer / Karelian mourner), Hadass Pal Yarden (Singer /Etno musicology), Chrysanthi Avloniti (Dancer/Performance), Stefan Hiller (priest / Dean in Gothenburg Cathedral).



There are no other applications submitted for this  purpose.



Barad, K. (2014).Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together/Apart, Parallax, 20-3, 169-187

Barad, K. (2017). What Flashes Up: Theological-Political-Scientific Fragments. I: Keller, C. & Rubenstein, M.-J. (eds.) Entangled Worlds. Religion, Science, and New Materialisms. Fordham University Press, New York, 2017. Pp. 21-88.

Bataille, G.(1986). Eroticism (1986) trans. Mary Dalwood. City Lights Books, ISBN 10:0872861902.

Belgrano, E. L. (2007) In Search for the True Voice of Passion: Investigating the essence of passion through ornaments and declamation in performance of French 17th century vocal music. MIDAS WORKSHOP, Music Institutions with Doctoral Arts Studies, Royale College of Music, London

Belgrano, E. L. (2009). ”Lasciatemi morire” & “Rochers vous etes sourds”: Interpreting Arianna’s tears, sighs and pain, by investigating Italian and French ornaments through vocal practice based research. University of York, UK, Singing Music from 1500 to 1900: Style, Technique, Knowledge, Assertion, Experiment, conference org. by: National Early Music Association, International Conference, 7-10 July             

Belgrano, E. L. (2009) Understanding the Singing Self in Performance of Laments and Mad Scenes in Italian and French 17th Century Opera, Glasgow School of Arts, UK, European Forum for Research Degrees in Art and Design (EUFRAD), 4-6 September

Belgrano, E. L. (2010) A lost queen, a desperate woman, a mad female singer: researching the voice of Monteverdi’s Ottavia through vocal sounds, sighs and observations on Nothingness. Department of Doctoral Studies in Musical Performance and Research, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland; The Embodiment of Authority: Perspectives on Performances, 10–12 September

Belgrano, E. (2011). ’Lasciatemi morire’ o farò ‘La Finta Pazza’: Embodying Vocal Nothingness on Stage in 17th Century Italian and French Operatic Laments and Mad Scenes, ArtMonitor, doct. diss. Gothenburg, 2011, ISBN 97891-978477-42. 

Belgrano, E. L. (2012) Madness dressed in paradoxes: experimenting inside a costume of a 17th century prima donna. Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (Italy), International conference: Fashioning Opera and Musical Theatre: Stage Costumes in Europe from the Late Renaissance to 1900, 29 March- 1 April

Belgrano, E. L. (2012) An Exhibition of Madness in a Cabinet of Wonders: Results from an Experimental Process Into the Performative Space of a 17th Century Operatic Mad Scene. The 15th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, hosted by the Music Department of the University of Southampton, Wednesday 11-15 July

Belgrano, E. L. (2013) An Exhibition of Madness in a Cabinet of Wonders: Results from an Artistic Research Process Into the Performative Space of a 17th Century Operatic Mad Scene. Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts, The Impact of Performance as Research, hosted by the Theatre Academy Helsinki, 28 February -2 March

Belgrano, E. L. (2013) Sourcing Madness in a 17th Century Operatic Mad Scene: A Performing Method Exhibiting a Cabinet of Vocal Wonders, EPARM III (European Platform Artistic Research in Music), Lyon, 18-20 April

Belgrano, E. L. (2014) Mourning Through the Voice of Ottavia: Performing Aesthetic Experiences of a Ritual. Interdisciplinary Conference: Venice and Ritual, Princeton University, 11-12 January

Belgrano, E. L. (2014) Learning and Teaching Through Madness:  Using the Metaphor of a 17th Century Operatic Mad Scene for Supervision in Higher Performing Arts Education Based on Artistic Research, (Performance presentation), 1st International Conference: Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, University College Cork, 29 May-1 June

Belgrano, E. L. (2014) Lessons in the shadow of je-ne-sais-quoi: A study of vocal ornamentation and human disaster. (The first festival conference of music performance and artistic research), Doctors in Performance, University of the Arts Helsinki–Sibelius Academy, Helsinki Music Centre, 4-5 September

Belgrano, E. L. (2014) Mattering through Vocal Lamentation = Building and Articulating through Sensuous Knowledge. Vetenskapsrådets årliga symposium om konstnärlig forskning 2014, Högskolan i Borås, 27-28 November 

Belgrano, E. L. (2014) Learning and Teaching Through Operatic Madness, ORCiM Seminar ‘From Output to Impact’, Orpheus Instituut / Advanced Studies & Research in Music Korte Meer 12 9000 Gent Belgium, 19-20 November. Proceeding.

Belgrano, E. L. (2015) MADNESS as METHOD: An intra-active encounter between 17th century operatic madness, artistic research and posthuman theories, 4th International PG Conference, Creativity: Method or Madness? College of Arts and Humanities, The University of Glasgow, 26-27 May   

Belgrano, E. L. (2015) Ornamentation based upon More-Than-Human-References: Moving Towards on Ecology of Trust, CARPA4, Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts, The Impact of Performance as Research, hosted by the Theatre Academy Helsinki, 11-13 June, Proceeding

Belgrano, E. L. (2015). Konsten att möta. Från intuition till examen i konst/vetenskap/lig högre utbildning, Conference on Higher Education, University of Gothenburg, HKG, 22 October.

Belgrano, E. (2016). Vocalizing Nothingness: (Re) configuring vocality inside the spacetime of Ottavia, Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, Vol. 1 Number 2:183-195.

Belgrano, E. L. (2016) Ornamenting Words -Vocalising Meaning - Writing through Singing, International Conference on Artistic Research, Conference theme: WRITING, University of the Arts The Hague & Leiden University/Society for Artistic Research, The Hague 28-29 April

Belgrano, E. L. (2016) GLORIES TO NOTHINGNESS: An intra-active encounter between 17th century operatic madness, artistic research and new materialism, Moving Performances (A day symposium exploring the politics and spaces of voice and unruly emotions), Faculty of Music, St Aldates, University of Oxford, 23 June     

Belgrano, E. L. (2016) Re-Turning DIS/TRUST in the Making of a VOICE, Society for European Philosophy/Forum for European Philosophy Annual Conference, Regent’s University London, 25-27 August,

Belgrano, E. L. (2017) Vocally Ornamenting ↔ Per/Forming Content ↔ Practice-Led Vocal Philosophy, Beyond Application? Immanent Encounters between Philosophy & the Arts, Centre for Performance Philosophy, University of Surrey, 27 January

Belgrano, E. L. (2017) Ornamenting Words -Vocalising Meaning: Artistic vocal performance research as a field ‘in between’, The 20th Quinquennial Congress of the International Musicological Society, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, Japan, 19-23 March

Belgrano, E. L. (2017) Voicing/ musicking: an intra-active spiritual matter? National Network for Artistic Research in Music (Nationellt nätverk för konstnärlig forskning i musik / NKFM), Annual Meeting, 23-24 August 

Belgrano, E. L. (2017) An orna/mentor's performance. How are things done, produced and effected with performance? Theatre Academy, Uniarts Helsinki, Research Day 8 November.

Belgrano, E. (2018). Ornamenting Vocality: Intra-Active Methodology for Vocal Meaning-Making. Ruukku Studies in Artistic Research, Vol.  9,

Belgrano, E. L. (2018) Thinking by Singing/ Singing by Thinking, or The art of Performing Translation through Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida’s concept of Acting-Intuition.  Interference #5 at Inter Arts Center, 16-18 January

Belgrano, E. L. (2018) A singing orna/mentor's performance or ir/rational practice,  ART, MATERIALITY AND REPRESENTATIONCLORE CENTRE, BRITISH MUSEUM, Knowing by singing: song, acoustic ecologies and the overflow of meaning (P042),1-3 June 

Belgrano, E. L. (2018Musical Source as Part of a Performative Ritual: Crossing Borders through Explorative Strategies (themed session), 18th Biennial conference on Baroque Music, Cremona 10-15 July 2018 

Belgrano, E. L.  (2018) Nishida Kitarō’s Philosophy of Acting-Intuition. Encountering Performance Philosophy and Artistic Research, 24th World Congress of Philosophy (WCP 2018) Beijing, 13 – 20 August 2018, Department of Philosophy, Beijing University.

Belgrano, E. L. (2019) Voic/musick/perform/ing: an intra-active spiritual matter? Performing Religious and Spiritual Traditions in Urban Context, Performance, Religion and Spirituality Working Group (PRS) IFTR Conference, 8-12 July 2019, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai

Belgrano, E. L. (2019). A Singing Orna/Mentor's Performance or Ir/rational Practice, Ruukku Studies in Artistic Research, Vol.11.

Belgrano, E. L. & Ross, B. (2017) Glories to Nothingness, Encounters, Discussions, Experimentations: Art, Research and Artistic Research in Music, Research Pavillion of the university of the Arts Helsinki, Venice, 16-18 June

Bennett, J. (2016). Whitman's Sympathies, Political Research quarterly, volume 69 issue 3: 607-620, Utah University Press.

Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Duke University Press Books, ISBN 10:0822346338.

Blundon, E. G. et al, Electrophysiological evidence of preserved hearing at the end of life, Scientific Reports (2020). 

Butler, J. (2000). Ethical ambivalence. In: M. Garber, B. Hanssen and R. Walkowitz (eds.) The Turn to Ethics. Culture Works. New York: Routledge, pp. 15–28.

Butler, J. & Connolly, W. (2000). Interview. In: W. Connolly (ed.) Politics, Power and Ethics: A Discussion Between Judith Butler and William Connolly, Theory & Event 4(2).

Carson, A. (2006). Eros the Bittersweet, Dalkey Archive Press, ISBN 10:1564781887

Chambers, S. & Carver, T. (2008). Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics. New York: Routledge.

Deleuze, G. (1988). Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. Translated by Hurley, Robert. San Francisco: City Lights Books.

Derrida, J. (1993/2006). Specters of Marx. The state of the debt, the work of mourning and the new international. Routledge Classics.

Fisher, M. (2009). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?  Zero Books, ISBN 9781846943171.

Dolphijn, R. (2021). The Philosophy of Matter. A Meditation. London, New Yor, Oxford, Dew Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury.

Kant, I. (2011). Metaphysical Foundations of the Natural Sciences, Cambridge University Press ISBN 10- 0521544750

Kierkegaard, S. (1992). Either/Or, Penguin Classics, ISBN 10-97801404457-70

Laasonen Belgrano, E. (2020). Mapping the Burden of Vocality: French 17th Century Vocal Lamentations, Somatic Practice and the Japanese Concept of Basho, in: Somatic Voices in Performance Research, Kapadocha, Christina. (ed), Routledge Voice Studies: Research Monographs.

Laasonen Belgrano, E. (2022). Någon rörde vid mig. Jag kände att kraft gick ut från mig. Gudsbilder i förändring. Forskningskonferens i Uppsala . 27–28 oktober. Svenska kyrkan / Uppsala universitet.

Laasonen Belgrano, E. & Price, M. D. (2021) Performing Nothingness: A Vocal Meditation, Thinking about Nothing: Negation, Philosophy, & the Mystical, Liverpool Hope University, 12-14 July 2021 

Laasonen Belgrano, E. & Price, M. D. (2021) Ornamentation in the Shadows of Death. Borrowed Time: on death, dying & change, Dartington Hall, Devon,  October 31 – November 2, 2021

Laasonen Belgrano, E. & Price, M. D. (2022). Letting Nothing DO Itself, SOUND-SILENCE-SPACE, Symposium, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg, 25-26 April.

Laasonen Belgrano, E. & Price, M. D. (2022). Letting Nothing Do Itself, 2022 IFTR Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, the Performance, Religion, and Spirituality Working Group.

Laasonen Belgrano, E. & Price, M. D. (2022) Whispers from the Abyss, isrlc Conference 2022, Transmutations and Transgressions, WG: “Material Religion”. Convenor: Petra Carlsson, 15-18 September 2022, University of Chester

Land, N. (1992). The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism, Routledge; ISBN 10- 041505608X

Lambert, M. (c. 1661). Leçons de Ténèbres (musical Easter lamentations)

Lenkiewicz, R. (1973). The Vagrancy Project, paintings and extensive sociological notes.

Lenkiewicz, R. (2000). The Addictive Behaviour Project, paintings and extensive sociological notes.

Lingis, A. (1994). The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common, Indiana University Press, ISBN 10 -0253208521

Lingis, A. (2011). Violence and Splendor, Northwestern University Press, ISBN-10 -0810127520

Lipton, J. et al. (2013). Lamentations Through the Centuries' (2013), Wiley Blackwell. 

Mbembe, A. (2019). Necropolitics, Duke University Press.

MacIntyre, A. (2013). After Virtue, Bloomsbury Academic; ISBN 109781780936-25

Marsden, J. (2002). After Nietzsche: Notes Towards a Philosophy of Ecstasy, Palgrave-MacMillan, ISBN 10-0333918762

Nietzsche, F. (2013). The Will To Power Book One – European Nihilism, Barnes and Nobel, ISBN 10-0760777772

Noys, B. (2014). Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism, Zero Books, ISBN 10-1782793003

Nystabakk, S. (2020) Singing with the lute, Norwegian Academy of Music, 4, Research Catalogue

Osmond, M. & Walters, K. (2021). The Black Madonna's Song, Atlantic Press.

Pool, H. (2022). Political Mourning: Identity and Responsibility in the Wake of Tragedy' Temple University Press. 

Price, M. D. (2002). Violence and Value in Post Kantian Philosophies. Doct. Diss., Bolton Institute (BIHE). 

Price, M. D. (2017). 50% Death. Doct. Diss.,Manchester Metropolitan University

Price, M. D. (2021). All  Is Welcome: The Life of Robert Lenkiewicz, Vol. One, White Lane Press, Plymouth.  

Price, M. D. (2022). Lenkiewicz: The Life. 'Addictive Behaviour', Vol. Two (1980-2002), White Lane Press, Plymouth.  

Price, M. D. (2021). Dekalog, Black Box Recordings. 

Sartre, J.-P. (2007). Existentialism Is a Humanism, Yale University Press ISBN 10 – 0300115466.

Saunders, R. (2007) Lamentation and Modernity in Literature, Philosophy and Culture, Palgrave.

Schopenhauer, A. (1966). The World As Will And Representation, Vols. 1 and 2, trans. E.F. J. Payne, Dover Publications, ISBN 9780486217611.

Siouffi, A.-M. (2005). From Paper to Planar: 60 Years of Thin Layer, Chromatography, Separation & Purification Reviews, 34:2, 155-180.

Sjöberg, M.et al. (2018). Being disconnected from life: meanings of existential loneliness as narrated by frail older people. Aging & Mental Health: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1348481.

Spuybroek, L. (2020). The Sympathy of Things. Ruskin and the Ecology of Design. Bloomsbury Visual Arts.

Sundström, M. et al. (2018). Encountering existential loneliness among older people: Perspectives of health care professionals. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Wellbeing, 13(1): 1474673.

Uehara, M., Belgrano, E. L. , Elberfeld, R. & Skånberg Dahlstedt, A. (2018) Nishida Kitarō’s Philosophy of Acting-Intuition Encountering Performance Philosophy and Artistic Research (Conf. Round Table Session), 24th World Congress of Philosophy (WCP 2018) Beijing, 13 – 20 August 2018, Department of Philosophy, Beijing University

Uehara, M. & Laasonen Belgrano, E. (2020) Performance philosophy seen through Nishida’s ‘Acting Intuition’, in: The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy, Cull, L. & Lagaay, A. (eds), Routledge Press.

Weil, S. (1951). Waiting on God. Routledge, London

Wood, A. (2015). The Cantor and The Muezzin’s Duet: Contested Soundscapes At Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Cont Jewry 35:55–72.



Rehearsing Michel Lambert. (2017), "Jerusalem Convertere ad  Dominum Deum Tuum" 

Book of Lamentations 1:1-5. Hebrew Bible. (Alter 2019)

                     Lamentation, Part One

   (Price & Laasonen Belgrano 2020)

Lamentation. (ME 2023) 

Relevance for the field of Artistic Research

Our project is not merely 'based in practice', it is led by artistic
practices of lamentation, ornamentation, and diffraction. As such it
is at the fore-front of developing new approaches in community-based
arts. It examines collective responses to loss and death, then creates
original sound-works to extend the tradition in new ways. One major
innovation is our use of the 'lesson-meditation' in novel sonic,
literary, and visual formats. The nine 'lessons' seeded by
video-essays will be stand-alone performance works but also cultivate
discussions, workshops, writings and aim at new social responses to
the inevitable wounds of cities. This involves a contemporary
re-evaluation of the role of the 'lesson- meditation' and a
re-evaluation of the arts of lamentation in the new sound-works

Using Lambert's Lecons as a frame for new 'lessons' we bring together
and cross-cut different eras, philosophies, faiths, vocal practices
and cultures. No large-scale syncretic work of this nature has yet
been done with the arts of lamentation. The scale of our artistic
relation to history is maximally ambitious, involving 17th century
musical meditation-practices, the Book of Lamentations (circa 586 BC),
Tenebrae rituals dating back to the ninth century AD (Monti, J. 1993)
and the earliest poetry, 'Lamentations for the Cities of Ur and Sumer'
(2100 BC). Part of the artistic relevance of the project is this
'gathering-in' of materials to acknowledge we may be living through
the end of a four-thousand-year tradition. Celtic keening, Karelian
chant and the Lyke-Wake Dirges have 'died' in the last hundred years.
In another hundred years, lamentation practices may be
minority-religious 'fossils' and historical recordings. If the
tradition is indeed moribund we aim to honour it and - without
postmodern 'irony' – create laments for the end of lamentation, with
as much reflexivity as our arts allow. It is always relevant for
artists to bear witness to death.

In doing so we will also make relevant contributions to artistic
research practice by disseminating novel methods which have proved
highly productive and versatile. Connections have multiplied swiftly
with artists in England, Sweden, Israel, Mozambique, Norway, and India. There
are strong potentials for further international artistic connections
(No Self Can Tell 2019-). The research aims to make similar new connections
in time – re-configuring creativity and history as zones for
collective artistic action, acknowledging how 'what is past' is of
significance for the present, but also allowing that the meaning of
the past can be de-created and re-created.

Death will always interweave human experience and our art responds to
ecological facts which remain under-acknowledged (Laasonon Belgrano and
Price: 2021 and 2022). Ecologically speaking, cities are death-traps.
Cities destroy biodiversity as they multiply human mental crises
(Corless and Price, 2022). The 'fall of cities' is no longer an
unmitigated disaster but rather a grim and necessary wounding. Even
conservative climate models suggest that many major cities can not
possibly endure: sea-level rises and heatwaves already impact upon
Europe and the situation is worse in the 'Global South' (IPCC Risk
Report: 2022). Using Jerusalem as the archetype for all falling
cities, we develop artistic responses to this newly emerging
'Necropolitics' (Achille Mbembe: 2011).

Our experiences with the terminally ill, studies of trauma, violence,
and mourning have left us oddly optimistic about the prospects for
artistic interventions. Our work is concerned with how to make meaning
in conditions of collapse. City life within late techno-capitalism is
already a 'disaster' involving history's largest rise in mental health
problems (Fisher: 2009). The matter of how the arts might reconnect
people to each other - and to the living world - in meaningful ways is
increasingly relevant. This project is a contribution to
communications strategies for this crisis.

New sound samples (uploaded October 14 2023) 

- Lamentation-Reading-Ritual, Church by the Tomb of Lazarus, September 10 2023

- Lamentations at the Western Wall, special gratitude to Hannah Yaffe, September 10 2023

News and updates!

We are very excited to tell that a pilot Lesson will be staged and explored in Jerusalem 9-11 September 2023.



a pilot study on ground zero


The research team is very grateful for special support from Krister Stendahls Stiftelse.


This project is a lamentation dedicated to...


Anna  Nyhlin (1971-2021)

Samantha Harper-Robins (1994-2022)

Jag kan inte gråta.


Men inom 

finns ett hav.

vars vågor rör sig till höga träd på ett öppet fält.

Dess grenar krusar sig vid stranden.

och havet är allt igenom gott

trots förluster och sjönöd.


Jag kommer sakna.

Jag gör det redan.

Rösten som ger råd.

Rösten som talar mjukt.

Som får mig att känna närhet.