Dying Threads II
Dying.threads II is based on the 2020 participatory installation Dying.threads located outside St Stephen’s in the Fields that invited the public to reflect on their three wishes for death and dying using natural materials, thread, and seeds. Dying.threads generated a web of responses that revealed the varied inter-connected values, perspectives and experiences surrounding our wishes for death and dying. Dying.threads was influenced by Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree, reimagined to explore directed questions about hopes for end of life. Using yarn, seed paper, and found wood, Dying.threads II reflects back a subset of contributions illustrating an orientation to love, home, integrity, power, and story telling. Sustainability has been considered in the sourcing and afterlife of the materials of the work.
Time Moving 3 - Digital connection in times of dying
Time Moving 3 echoes prior work, representing concepts of time and memory layered with communication via direct messaging, provoking questions about how we express ourselves and adopt/abandon technology during experiences of end of life. Time Moving 1 and 2 engaged in public making of timelines through storytelling utilizing participatory materials with the intention of creating an environment for the public to express and explore temporal awareness at end of life. This public experience engages in questions of digital experience/ digitally mediated connection – an integral aspect of end of life experiences during the pandemic.
All We Have Left
In considering extinction, planetary death and collapse, dead birch wood and bark is the growing medium for the artificial. Using vintage ceramic flowers, sourced from estate sales, the craft of the original ceramic artists reminds me of the beauty of flowers, my aunt’s living room full of small figurines and family photographs, the flower bundles capturing nature in a long lasting technicolor. Dismantled and reassembled, they represent the false promise of artificial decor, a reminder of the proliferation of plastic, and contamination of land - a bittersweet remembrance of a beloved aunt and a reminder of the legacy we will be working with for generations.
Time Moving 4 - How much time do we have?
Made in collaboration with Karen Oikonen.
Using chalk, charcoal and brown paper, this wall installation invites the public to consider the time we might have, perhaps in relation to our own death or that of the planet. The work allows for expression of time awareness and perception in multiple ways, drawing on the outcomes of Time Moving 1 and 2 which invited the public to draw or express the shape of time as it was perceived during an end of life experience. In this case the time horizon is open, unknowable, and might follow familiar line or it could take on any shape.
Dr. Kate Sellen is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Design at OCADU and Canada Research Chair in Health Design (Tier 2). Much of her work focuses on design on high sensitivity health topics. She takes a community engaged approach to her work that includes participatory design and public engagement through exhibit.