This body of work emerged from an interest in contemporary funerary practices. Initially I hypothesized that the artifice and superficiality that informs death ritual was a way to avoid the reality of death. I became fascinated with how the funerary establishment operated as a business, an industry predicated on the exploitation of the vulnerability of the bereaved. I came to view the ritualistic practices within the death industry under a lens of Marixist criticality; the ubiquitous practices that have been normalized are parallel to the consumer culture of the living.
Contemporary Western death rituals function to aestheticize our greatest collective fear; from the extensive reconstruction and manipulation of the corpse, to the thousands of dollars in flowers that shroud the coffin, few could argue that conventional notion of beauty is ostensibly employed in order to make the act of dying palatable. In death, as in life, marketing stresses the need to reify emotions through commercial objects; money is correlated to importance. Shrouded in pseudopsychology, superfluous and exorbitant services are peddled under the guise that it will help the surviving deal with loss. The ostentatious displays are often one of the largest expenditures over a person’s lifetime; an expense riddled with irony for the guest of honor will not be in attendance (save for materially) and the process is incredibly temporal, lasting on average only three days.