Regarding Death

Cosima Terrasse

Regarding Death is an on going artistic project with which I aim to question the notions of identity, territory, nationhood and togetherness, that are tied to French cementeries. I address hand-written, personal letters to more than 100 different French public figures, in which I essentially ask them to tell me where they want to be buried.

regarding death

Culturally and historically, cemeteries play a role in redefining "ground" towards a notion of "territory", and marking a piece of land inherent to a group of people. They are sacred places, because they are where cultures honour human life by ritually disposing of dead bodies. This complexity, including the changing cultural concepts surrounding it, makes the cemetery a keystone for reflecting about evolving notions of identity inside of a nation as well as in spite of it. In this project I look at a cemetery - like Hamlet gazes at the skull - in order to try and understand the complexity of the French identity that arises thanks to its cemeteries. 

Cementeries are keystones in reflecting on national identities.

What defines being French? Is there such a thing? Can death be instrumentalized in order to create a sense of "patric"? In this project I write letters to over 100 French, or French related public figures, from gardeners to footballers, to ask them where they want to be buried, and where their ancestors got buried. I think it is a twist to rethink the way we shape identity in the contect of territory and border.

Winter 2015
Vienna/ France
Cosima Terrasse