Invited Speaker at 'EASR 2016 Relocating Religion" -conference, University of Helsinki, Finland, 28 June - 1 July, 2016


Imageries and Rituals of Modern Death (II) (Chair: Maija Butters)
13.30-15.30 (Wed. 29th June), Auditorium IV

The Images of Life and Death
Petri Kaverma (Kuvataideakatemia)

“The images of life and death” is an artistic research project that explores the cultural and visual aspects of dying. It pursues new visual ideas and produces new material artefacts of death, such as coffins and funeral urns. Perhaps such new imagery may help people to cope with their fear of dying and increase their respect for life. Death is a theme with particular resonance in our society that admires eternal youth and strives to make death invisible. Presently, there are no updated images of death in our culture. We dont even know how immigration will affect our visual language. Of course, we have the numinous black cars and coffins covered by shiny white synthetic fabrics, but we no longer see death through these worn-out attributes of sorrow. It could even be argued that the very object of dying; the body, the corpse; has consequently disappeared. A dead person has turned into an abstraction, and, thus, our experience of death has lost its meaning. The invisibility of death has made death all the more frightening for us. “The images of life and death” will develop a new kind of coffin concept. The project creates also other conceptual and visual tools that can give us a new sensitivity about our life, a framework by which to ask ourselves how we feel today, how our life looks at the moment, whether it feels right and meaningful for us. In this sense, the project is extended from the artistic or visual realm to that of language.