• Beyond the Edges

    A study on how the intangible dimensions of death and dying can be made accessible through the language of film

    This installation extract is an impression of the work that constitutes the main part of my PhD and which is one suggestion for an answer to the question.

Abstract

This practice-based research was inspired from a need to make sense of death and potentially dying from my own personal history and the lack of cinematic/filmic contributions that would have helped to understand the internal turmoil and questions that arose at the time, as well as the connected emotions. The question that emerged was how, through cinematic language, these troubling questions could be made accessible and engage both maker and viewer in the philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual, in other words, the intangible and abstract dimensions of death in a meaningful and thought-provoking way.

‘Moving images’, be that cinema, television or digital media, are the most ubiquitous cultural determinants of our time. However, the subject of death with its philosophical, spiritual and emotional complications is not widely portrayed within these media, and that somehow mirrors the general attitude towards death in our Western society. There is an increasing need for engagement with death in general and from a personal and emotional perspective in particular. Film seems the obvious medium to make this discussion accessible for a wider audience.

Through an autoethnographic approach, highlighting the emotional aspects of death and dying, through engaging with Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s lifelong struggle with death and loss and his way of expressing himself in his films and through the use of fragments and metaphors, I have attempted to create something that translates something very personal into something universal.

The outcome of my practice-based research and considerations is a series of short films, capable of being seen as a continuum that are presented first and foremost, but not exclusively, as a multi-screen installation. It is a sonic poem with images. At its core it has an awareness of death: its fears, its taboos, its proximity and its unknown quantities. It asks questions about the meaning of life and is ultimately a homage to life itself. My own thoughts, based on my personal experience, are complemented in a fictive dialogue with Ingmar Bergman’s thoughts about his lifelong fear of death and loss. This intimate as well as immersive experience is about listening as much as about seeing and it aims to inspire and encourage the audience to ask questions about their own life and its finitude.

Full text of exegesis: Beyond the Edges

For access to the full linear version of the film please contact digital@angelicakroeger.com