By learning from the previous 2, I felt that my 3rd cemetery walk with Logan had all the elements to optimise my experience (though I don’t think I’ve quite got the documentation right but more on that later). So…seeing that I kinda worked out the form as I went along, I thought I’d summarise the aim and the rules of my walking exercise here…
Name of exercise – Little Deaths
Aim of exercise – To make the practice of “mourning” more everyday and to give myself and a partner the chance to remember a loved one within a community setting (i.e. Woonona / Bulli)
1. Each participant is to dedicate the walk to a deceased loved one. Participants may choose someone whose grave is a long way away or close by. Or maybe their loved one isn’t deceased at all. Maybe they’re simply long lost. Or maybe what the participant misses most isn’t a person. Maybe the participant wishes to mourn a pet / object / club / fictional character that holds significance for them. Genuiness is favoured over ingenuiness but there are no emotional police.
2. Participants are to wear comfortable “mourning” clothes (individual interpretation is encouraged) and bring a single flower or a bunch of flowers.
3. Participants are to meet at Woonona train station at an agreed upon time and embark upon a 30min walk (see route below) that culminates at Bulli Cemetery.
4. During the walk, participants have the opportunity to share stories about their loved ones with each other. This should be in no way structured. Try using the everyday and calming nature of walking to approach mourning in a similar way. It’s simply something that’s healthy for us.
5. Once participants arrive at the cemetery, they are to split up and each find a grave that suits them. Here, participants may say a few words for their loved one whilst thanking the person whose grave it is for allowing them to remember their loved one in this way. But again, these are just suggestions. More importantly, this moment should be what the participant wants it to be.
6. Participants are to place their flower(s) on their chosen graves, before meeting up with each other and concluding the exercise.
These rules optimised my own walking experience (and hopefully that of my partners) but, as I mentioned before, I found it difficult to determine a method of documentation that I was happy with. In my previous blogs, I included photos of my chosen tombstones from the cemetery, as well as providing a brief description of the loved ones remembered. However, this feels like more of a personal reflection than an artwork in its own right. Talking to Lucas this afternoon, I explained how I thought filming the walk or recording the conversations would change / detract from the experience. This may be a bit presumptuous of me, given we live in a world of mediation and so some participants might not even flinch when confronted by a camera or voice recorder. However, I feel the worth of the exercise lies in the individual experience of it and not necessarily the words or images it produces. In trying to solve my dilemma, I’ve come up with a much more elaborate version of the exercise (which seems to be my style…haha) and I will outline it in my next blog. So stay tuned…