In 2014, I began building an archive inspired by this neuropsychologist and his wife. The project is an investigation into ELEs (otherwise know as End-of-Life Experiences) and their role as tools to help us understand human consciousness and the emotional intricacy of grief. ELEs typically occur around the time of death—either before, during, or after—and are often experienced by a person who has lost a loved one. These experiences can be interpreted in various ways as premonitions, deathbed visions, golden light, changes in the temperature or atmosphere, terminal lucidity, or deathbed coincidences.
Act 1 took the form of a lecture-performance in October 2015. I presented an assemblage of imagery, objects, written accounts, and archival research to explore ELEs and the liminal states they create between our inner and outer worlds. Collected both in-person and online through interactions with hospice nurses, chaplains, funeral directors, and people of all spiritual backgrounds and capacities, these remnants of lives lived and lost have been profoundly meaningful to those who experience them and are often hidden from others out of fear they might be dismissed or misunderstood. Making connections between the past and present, fact and fiction, and the objective and private worlds, the lecture format invited audience participation and speculation about the boundaries between the physical world, the emotional world, and what may exist beyond. Below is a selection of images from Act 1.
Currently, I am in the process of culminating the research into Act 2, a filmic essay including objects, archival research, photographs and oral accounts collected from an array of sources and individual experiences. An in-process excerpt of the film was recently presented at BRIC Contemporary Art and an interview about the project was featured on NYFA Currents (December 2017). Inquiry Into the ELE is sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts here. The project will premiere in 2019.