Photo and audio documentation, 2013

Romanian only audio

In a time of scientific and rational thinking, when we know everything that happens biologically to the body when it stops breathing, religious stories about the afterlife continue to make our perception of death less frightening.

The assurance of an afterlife provided by different religious beliefs lubricates our disappearance into the Great Unknown. The perkiness of our species allows no secret to exist, interpreting and conceptualizing all that escapes the power of our knowledge. We can not fully accommodate ourselves with this idea of non-existence. We see it in the external world, we slaughter animals every second, we see OTHERS dying, but we can not accept our own death as being a departure to Nothing. We just can not comprehend NOTHINGNESS, THE VOID. There has to be SOMETHING. And this SOMETHING is often perceived as a new spiritual life.

For this work, I started documenting some of the rituals concerning death in the villages I grew up in, where I attended – during my childhood – so many of these practices. I saw my grandparents buy their own coffins for burial 30 years before their death, and making preparations for their afterlife.

What mainly interested me was the custom of giving away objects after one`s death or before (when they believe that relatives will not do the rituals or they don`t want to burden them with costs). These objects will be found in the afterlife – a bed, clothes, food, tableware, table and chairs, towels,handkerchiefs, and everything a person is supposed to need in this world. By giving it away in this mix of Christian and pagan customs, these objects will be transferred and wait for the soul of the deceased on the other side.

The images and audio tell individual stories of people that have already passed and how they planned their final journey, leaving notice to their family regarding the rules for their burial.