Some Inspirational Quotes

Steve Connor, Cabinet Magazine, Dust, Issue 35, 2009:
“Dust is a powerful quasi-object, a magical substance, something to conjure with. Like anything magical, dust is ultimately a figuring not just of the possibility of magic, but also of the operations of magical thinking itself.”

Carolyn Steedman, Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (Encounters), 2002:
“Dust is a perpetual marker of presence rather than loss. Dust is about circularity, the impossibility of things disappearing, or going away, or being gone. It marks the state of notgoing-away-ness.”

Author Joan Didion writing about the death of her husband in The Year of Magical Thinking, 2006:
“Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”

English social anthropologist Geoffrey Goer in Death, Grief and Mourning, 1965
describes a rejection of public mourning as a result of the increasing pressure of a new “ethical duty to enjoy oneself”, a novel “imperative to do nothing which might diminish the enjoyment of others.” In the UK and US, the contemporary trend was “to treat mourning as morbid self-indulgence, and to give social admiration to the bereaved who hide their grief so fully that no one would guess anything had happened.”

French historian Philippe Aries in Western Attitudes toward Death: From the Middle Ages to present, 1975
writes that beginning in about 1930, there had been in most western countries and particularly in the United States a revolution in accepted attitudes towards death. “Death, so omnipresent in the past that it was familiar, would be effaced, would disappear. It would become shameful and forbidden.”

 

References

The Loved One. Evelyn Waugh, 1947
This book deals with the business, image and cultural aspects of modern death. It provides a fictional, yet very believable look inside the workings of cemeteries and various rituals around death. While it speaks directly to the image-driven culture of Los Angeles, it allows us to reflect on contemporary society in general and how we deal with loss.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, Patrick D. Gaffney and Andrew Harvey, 1994
This book examines how the Tibetan Buddhists view death, dying and living. It reminds us that death is inevitable and the best thing that we can hope for is to be mentally and emotionally prepared to face it. The author forces us to reflect on how Western society handles death and the dying on a personal level and some insights into what could make this process easier.

The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard, 2001
The stories explore possible futures and the role of technology and science within those futures. The more impactful stories are those which involve very different, yet imaginable scenarios i.e. extreme overpopulation, experimental genetic engineering. These stories serve as a reminder of what could some day be possible and how to look at these possibilities with a creative and open mind

Crash, J.G Ballard (book) 1973, David Cronenberg (movie) 1996
This film and book deal directly with technology and the impact that it has on empathy. It becomes painfully clear in this story that the act of surrounding ourselves constantly with machines seems to have de-empathized the main characters in regards to pain and death.

Facing Death, Robert E. Kavanaugh, 1974
Explores the role of empathy for the dying and how different age groups deal differently with both loss and helping the dying.

Letting Go, Atul Gawande. Article in the New Yorker, 2010
This article takes us through some very emotional stories and findings in regards to modern medicine and it’s role in aiding the dying. It reminds us that there is no easy way to die, to lose someone or to tell someone that they are in fact dying. It evaluates the role of the hospital staff as caretakers and the role of empathy within medical professions

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion, 2005
An amazingly personal and heartfelt journey through the author's quest to makes sense and cope with the sudden death of her husband and the illness of her daughter.

 

The History of Death: Burial Customs and Funeral Rites, from the Ancient World to Modern Times, Michael Kerrigan, 2007
Gives the reader a brief overview of the many incredibly rich and interesting ways in which our distant and not-so-distant ancestors dealt with death and the afterlife.

Cabinet Magazine, Dust, Issue 35, 2009
Discussing everything from the dust of Francis Bacon to space dust, this guarantees you will never think about dust the same after reading.

 

Very special thanks to:

Lead Advisor: Sean Donahue
Adjunct Advisors: Mike Milley and Elise Coe
Writing Advisor: Shannon Herbert
Media Design faculty: Anne Burdick, Ben Hooker, Phil Van Allen, Tim Durfee, Lisa Krohn, Thea Petchler, Norman Klein
Fellow Media Design students: Ana Ramos, Alex Braidwood, Haejin Lee, Daniel Lara Saucedo, Hoon Oh, Scot Liao, Dustin York, Adam Fiscbach, Aurelia Friedland, Link Huang, Rubina Ramchandani, Bora Shin, Mike Manalo, Jeremy Eichenbaum, Matt Kizu
Friends and Family: Philip and Mary Ann Benton, Conni and Paul Moore, Jennelle Moore, Nick Anderson, Alex Johnson, Janet Moore, Chrissy Bubier, Caitlin Moore, Jason Davis, Lauren Dimascio, Tom Devine, Shumi Malhotra, Naomi Perl, Chelsea Yeager,Bettina Wilhelm, James Cerasani, Justin Gier, Haelim Paek, Bert Beatson, Linda Goldman, Diane Law, Linda Fuhrman, Jill Goslicky, Brian McGardle