In Post mortem: Visions of Life After Death, I am exploring artistic, technological, and spiritual intersection to represent diverse views of the afterlife, which I am collecting through surveys with people of different faiths, cultural backgrounds, nationalities, ages, genders, and professions. I will then create short videos and audio clips based on the narratives provided, which will be used as content for the installation. The final gallery environment will use real-time video tracking of installation participants moving through the space, which will trigger and modify audio and video components projected onto surfaces in the gallery. Through this responsive environment, visitors will create and be immersed in a new experience each time they visit. The environment will act as a dream-like space that becomes a simulated afterlife comprised of a variety of diverse perspectives. I will also be designing and publishing a companion book based on the responses and art installation.
We all will perish, and as human beings, we have the contemplative recognition of our mortality, something that, as far as we know, other living creatures on Earth do not possess. It is what often spurs the creative urge in people (to make art, compose music, write, and/or have children) – the urge to leave behind a legacy. While we all have this common inevitable end, there are many diverse views on what happens when we die. Some people are clinical. Others take a more spiritual or religious approach. And – I know there are unique and foreign beliefs that, at the moment, I am not aware of…but I am optimistic that I will get a wide variety of thoughts as I set out to find what different people think.
In my lifetime, I have been exposed to many belief systems, from atheist to Christian (Baptist/Methodist). I have my own beliefs, but I am not going to describe them, because what really interests me is what others believe. My frame of reference is limited to my experiences and information I have gathered over time; however, I do not feel that my awareness alone will give the breadth this project needs in order to serve as a diverse collection of documented beliefs. That’s where you come in!
This blog has been set up to get some written feedback from individuals outside of my immediate vicinity. I also have established it so that those who submit may, if they wish, post anonymously. This project is being created in the spirit of tolerance, in that while we may all have our own beliefs regarding the state of our existence beyond the end of our current life, we all face mortality, and therefore the contemplation of what happens to us when we die is a seemingly universal question that we as humans ask. I ask that, in the spirit of tolerance, do not judge others’ belief systems in your responses, even if they are in conflict with your own.
If you would like to participate, click on the CONSENT FORM link to read the consent information.
Thank you so much for visiting!
Melissa Paige Taylor, PI
Assistant Professor in Graphic Design
Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design
Georgia State University