Thalassa Raasch & Katina Bitsicas
Saturday, March 18 - 11:00AM to 11:45AM
Raasch - Enter a borderland where death intersects with daily life, where gravedigger Everard Hall still digs and fills graves by hand -- and photographs the process. This talk presents Hall's unique archive of photographs, and Raasch's research to unearth the early tradition of gravedigger as artist. As part of a larger project titled In Over My Head, this collaborative work honors the fading role and craft of the traditional gravedigger soon to be replaced by a backhoe; Everard, and the diggers before him honor a physical, quotidian understanding of death that is simultaneously beautiful, comfortable, difficult, and humorous.
Bitsicas - On June 15, 2020, I lost my father to Mantle Cell Lymphoma. For his thanaversary, I created a multimedia funeral installation, since COVID-19 prevented a traditional funeral when he passed. My performance, In Memoriam, uses the preserved remnants of the funeral to adorn wool shrouds with a skeletal-like floral pattern. This multimedia performance was presented inside a 12th century Byzantine bathhouse in Thessaloniki, Greece, honoring my Greek heritage and the resting place of his ashes, the Aegean Sea. The bathhouse is a space for unity between my father, myself and our heritage, and for the rebirth of my Greek identity.