In a world where death and its byproducts are kept as far away from our daily experience as possible, some people have made a conscious choice to experience this unsavory reality as part of their quotidian life. Hitherto guided by religious practices, during the last two centuries, a range of professionals have become responsible for the activities surrounding the preparation of the dead. Such activities include those for cultural practices and beliefs, such as funeral services and the afterlife, as well as scientific research and historical preservation, for institutions such as medical museums and laboratories. This panel presents a range of experiences from professionals acutely aware of the collapsing dichotomy of the body as material object and the body as person.
I conduct interviews with different artists, curators and cultural figures around the themes of "darkness in art", the grotesque, and the role of technology in creating evil or good. I interview figures who have used the themes of darkness, technology, political dissention, nihilism and the occult in their practices. Current subjects include David Liss, Director of The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Governor General's Award winner and provocateur Istvan Kantor, multi-media artist Jubal Brown and painter Matt Bahen, with more exciting subjects and interviews to come.