Death is life?

DEATH IS LIFE? This project researched death from different perspectives and considered whether art is capable of crossing temporal borders and bringing people of the past closer to people of the present; the project also wished to unravel myths related to death and the taboo of death.

The project raised the participants’ awareness of several aspects: death, the significance of death, and the cultural-historical features of death. In addition, the project wished to rouse a public debate on death: how could the fear of death experienced by our contemporaries be alleviated and how could we adopt a more mundane approach to death? The project included three workshops, an exhibition at Ii Local History Museum and a presentation by Theatre Quo Vadis, titled Rituaaliluento, which translates as Ritual Lecture.

The workshops took place in March and April, 2017, at KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre. The participants in the first workshop gathered ghost stories relating to the Ii area and narrated them to one another in a light-hearted manner; they also held theatre rehearsals to speak to the dead and applied visual arts tools to reflect on the human life cycle. The participants in the second workshop pondered on what we might leave behind us, what future archaeologists might find and how they might interpret it all. The participants also

wondered what might be left of us other than matter, and made tiny coffins out of materials available to them in their environment. The third workshop familiarised the participants with bones found in the oldest, wooden part of Ii, the old harbour and trading post Wanha Hamina. They learned how bones can aid the study of the lives of the people of the past, and what all bones can help us decipher.

This project peaked in June 2017 in an event on Huilinki stage where the Theatre Quo Vadis put on its show. On the same day, the Ii Local History Museum opened an exhibition about death, combining contemporary art and cultural history. The project was carried out by Theatre Director Otso Kautto, Professor of Visual Arts Jaana Erkkilä, Museum Technician/Producer Hanna Puolakka, Doctor of Philosophy Sirpa Niinimäki and Cultural Officer/Visual Artist Merja Briñón. The project was a joint project by the Ii Municipality and KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre, and it was a part of the Finland 100 Centenary Program.