Death is an inseparable part of the human society and its culture. From the very beginning, death has assumed an essential position, whether in the form of oral and later written mythological and religious narratives, collective rituals and objects of special order or by means of visual representations. The transformation of the western society, which has become an inherent part of its industrial and technological development, has influenced not only various fields of everyday experience but also the notion of life and thus also death itself. Although death has been present in every single day of the life of the society for thousands of years, there are critical voices pointing out the vanishing of death from modern life. The cult of eternal youth, the habit of overlooking the constantly growing number of seniors in western states, the celebration of consumerism and the culture of pleasure; these are but a few crucial points that these critical voices refer to.
Have we really forgotten about death or does it come to us in the guise of famous Death playing chess on the seashore in Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” when we daydream or when we sleep at night? How can we possibly forget about death when the current popular television and film culture celebrating crime, thriller and horror genres is literally full of death? Can we trace certain attributes that are characteristic of visual representations across diverse cultural forms of its representation even today?
MARTIN SOUKUP, cultural and visual anthropologist (Palacký University in Olomouc): “Forms of Death”
MARKÉTA SVOBODOVÁ, historian of architecture (Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic): “The Desacralization of Funerary Architecture. Changes in the Typology of Cemetery Constructions in the 20th Century”
JAN FREIBERG, curator: “Goodbye Gallery”
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