MISSING YOU: exhibition of videos and prints
McMaster University Installation
Presented by The Socrates Project
January 23, 6-9 PM
Opening reception and screening
January 23 - February 14, 2020
Exhibition of prints and videos open all day and evening
Images from Charles Street Video opening and installation, Toronto October- November 2019
Robin Pacific photographed 70 people, each in a special place that has meaning for them, and then asked them a series of questions about their own death.
Visual artist and editor Dennis Day made a video of all 70 people, their thoughts about their demise, their images, the music they would like played at their funeral, and their world without them in it.
No two people had the same vision of the afterlife – or lack of an afterlife. Each idea for a memorial and for a legacy was unique. Their words are funny and sad, honest and thought-provoking.
This show grew out of Marks in the River of Time, an exhibition in 2010.
ABOUT MISSING YOU
It was March, the fag end of winter in Toronto. That time of year when we are all so sick of snow and ice, and can’t really imagine any other reality. Spring was like the worst bad boyfriend, just wouldn’t return my phone calls, my Facebook Messages, my WhatsApp messages, or my texts. I was depressed, thoroughly convinced that joy would never return. My partner Frank and I packed up some food and the dog and drove up to the cottage, where there was even more old and grimy snow. We went for a walk to one of the public beaches on Georgian Bay, at the end of the 19th Concession road. This beach is very rocky, almost inaccessible, like most of the public beaches at the end of the concession roads up there in Tiny County. Frank and I climbed up on big rocks to sit and watch the water; Mercy my Samoyed wandered around in a desultory fashion. Suddenly I experienced a strange trick of the eyes. I saw the scene without us in it. Me, Frank and Mercy: vanished. Everything else was exactly the same. The rocks, the water, the sand – all would outlast us. Far from being sad or frightened by this, I felt oddly comforted.
So there was nothing to it but I had to ask everyone I know and love if they would let me photograph them in a place that has meaning for them, and then photograph that place without them in it. Then I would ask them about their own mortality.
What do you think happens after we die? What do you want done with your mortal remains? Do you think about a funeral/memorial service/celebration of life? What do you imagine? Are you afraid of dying? What do you hope your legacy will be? What music do you want your mourners to hear? If there was one piece of music you would want played, what would it be?
Some 70 people agreed to participate, and I have taken their picture and asked them their thoughts about death, in Toronto and environs, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax, Berkeley, California, Guadalajara, Mexico, and London, England.
It has been a true privilege to have these intimate encounters, to talk about a subject that is almost taboo in our culture. And I’m still comforted by the fact that barring ecological Armageddon, this beautiful world will outlast us all.