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Death, Materiality and the Origin of Time


This project stipulates that death is the overarching horizon for how human beings perceive of and sense time. Time permeates everything, but except for time itself, all things are perishable. Yet, it is through the perishable material world that we experience time. Both when it comes to the development and decay of the body as well as the anticipation of death. With a starting point in anthropological and archaeological studies, the project investigates how social technologies have been and are implemented to avoid death, delay death, embrace death or communicate with death in the past as well as the present. The project questions the meaning, which the materiality of death has for our understanding of time. Since death and time are materially embedded in bodies, objects and physical space, the project will develop and make use of user-driven ‘design experiments’ localised at Moesgaard Museum. The aim with the experiments is to facilitate dialogue between researchers, informants, curators and audiences, which will develop new forms of knowledge and representation in the intersection of death, materiality and time. The aim is furthermore to build an international research network with the long-term goal of establishing the first ‘Centre for Methodological Innovation’ in Europe at Aarhus University.

Senest opdateret 23. april 2013