An Invitation to Sit With Death Awhile
A collaboration between Ladyfinger and Igneous Inc. credit: © photo Suzon Fuks
An Invitation to Sit with Death Awhile is an intimate interactive performance installation that invites individuals to contemplate mortality, and privately share experiences of love and loss. A tiny sitting room, cocooned in a mosquito net, receives projections, giving those within a certain degree of privacy. Inhabited by Ladyfinger’s Dawn Albinger, participants are invited into the sitting room one at a time and offered a shot of whiskey or sip of water. After a silent toast and a moment to notice images projected onto a quietly singing teapot, they are invited to select and read a scroll with a choice of three questions for the participant, or their host, to answer. What happens next depends entirely on the individual, sensitively facilitated by Dawn. Afterwards, participants can rest a moment in another exterior sitting room where a small notebook invites them to “Ask me anything…Tell me anything…”.
An Invitation to sit with Death Awhile premiered at Metro Arts DeathFest in November 2016, where the installation was inhabited for approximately 14 hours over three evenings and one afternoon. We were struck by the general public’s willingness to enter the space, by the universality of the themes that emerged in what was shared, and by the absolute particularity of each individual experience of death, loss and grief. No two people answered any of the three questions in the same way. Themes were repeated, but the details were endlessly varied. Some participants confided that what they shared in the tiny sitting room they had never shared with anyone before.
Concept: Dawn Albinger and Suzon Fuks
Text: Dawn Albinger
Projections: Suzon Fuks
Interior sitting room facilitation: Dawn Albinger
Exterior sitting room facilitation: Suzon Fuks
Some participant responses:
– “Not sure what I expected to get from this, but I was really moved – everyone should sit with death awhile”.
– “Whiskey is a helpful thing! The price of love is grief. And that’s ok.”
– “Thanks for the trigger to think about and softly grieve the loss of my nephew…There’s a softness about this space. Like a santa claus floating in a breeze. A breath. A holding.”