“In examining the funerary rituals, fashions and processes surrounding the body at this time, the film illuminates our attitudes to the one definite fact of life: our death”.
For its autumn 2013 exhibition Fabrica was delighted to be working with video artist Jordan Baseman to present a new site-specific film commission, A Cold Hand on a Cold Day. In common with three of his previous films it focused on the people who take care of the deceased person between death and disposal. In examining the funerary rituals, fashions and processes surrounding the body at this time, the film illuminated our attitudes to the one definite fact of life: our death.
The film featured an interview with local funeral director Cara Mair as she explained her relationship with embalming and the traditional methods of body preparation, procedures that have led her to move away from conventional funeral practices towards a more personalised, holistic and less commercial approach to funeral making.
Visually the film was driven by hand-processed colour 16mm time-lapse images of deeply dark skies. In A Cold Hand on a Cold Day, process, narrative, abstraction and nature collided in asking open questions about death.
Two other previously unseen works were also shown as part of the exhibition. The Old Blood (2013) featured Geoff Taylor, who has embalmed 30,000 people over a 40-year career. How to Manage Stillness (2013) looked at attitudes to the deceased person and the various processes the body is subjected to between death and disposal. The film was narrated by Dr Kate Woodthorpe, Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath.
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A very powerful experience. Thank you.
Very pondersome. I just lost my mum. I wish I’d seen it before in a way. But good to see something so frank about death.
Photographs by Ben Harding