What is Thanatopolis?

Thanos_DSC01448_2• a physical place, a concept and appropriate imagery for attenuating memory
• a harness/focal point for the agony and creativity unleashed by death
• a natural setting for experimentation in the of interment and memorialization
• a new home for the ‘living memorial’ idea
• an integral, dynamic aesthetic element within the I-Park environment
• a source of commission opportunities for sculptors, garden designers, environmental artists
• an approach to memorialization that’s relevant to our time
– bringing the memorial park out of the shadows and back to its rightful place in the culture
– returning high art to the cemetery
– visually, environmentally reengaging the death/life cycle
• a funding source for the contemporary arts programs at I-Park

The Thanatopolis Symposium & Exhibition

The Thanatopolis Symposium, held in July 2010, was a separate, mainly private, event that investigated and challenged the underlying premises of Thanatopolis. It gave shape to the Exhibition by sharpening the mission and identity of Thanatopolis and by bringing a measure of coherence to the many ideas and proposals from the various disciplines represented.
The Thanatopolis Exhibition, held on Saturday, October 9, 2010, was an inter-disciplinary art project intended to showcase – visually and aurally – new and interesting ways to re-imagine our culture’s, and our personal, relationship to death, memory and memorialization. The Exhibition foreshadowed the look and feel of a future memorial park on the I-Park grounds.
I-Park solicited proposals that would advance the Thanatopolis project, including concepts that address specific commission elements. Proposals that respond to the spirit of the Thanatopolis project in ways perhaps as yet unforeseen were also welcome.
Memorial-themed proposals were evaluated by a distinguished Selection Panel on the basis of creativity, cultural relevance, site responsiveness, feasibility and efficacy in evoking, nurturing and attenuating memory.
Congratulations and Appreciation to the Thanatopolis Artists/Prize Winners for
Their Wonderful Music, Installations, Performances, Ideas and Spirit
Music Composition/Sound Sculpture
Memorial Composition: Jack DW Ballard, Jr., Ohio, Lament
Processional: Rohan De Livera, United Kingdom, Remembrance
Tone Sequence: Nuno Rebelo, Spain, Chamamento
Ritual Adieux: Jennifer Higdon, Pennsylvania, Soliloquy and Monica Houghton, Ohio, Quase Um Soneto
Thanatopolis Concert: Tricia Minty, California, Wicked Dreams and Sumiko Sato, Japan, Misthaven
Sound Sculpture: Elise Morris, New York, Dawn
Thanatopolis Noir: Todd Merrell, Connecticut, The Last Transmission
Physical/Land Projects/Installations
Norbert Francis Attard, Malta, Grave Field
Paul Bagley, Oklahoma, Symbiosis
François Fréchet, France, Free as a Bird
Terra Goolsby, Rhode Island, From Landscape to Culture, From Culture to Landscape
Pulling Together/Legends of Willimantic/Weighing Anchor Group, New York, Connecticut, The Citizen Shipwrights of Willimantic, CT
Alison Williams, Massachussets, Dream Eyries
Andrea Thompson, New Hampshire, Reliquary for Five
Kathy Bruce, New York, Landscape as Costume (Burial Robe)
Kelly Hanson, New York, Against the Dying of the Light
Jordan McKenzie, in absentia*, United Kingdom, Gathering of the Breath
Noa Sagie, New York, Fragments
Teresa Smith, New York, Companionship of Memory
Paper/Future Project
Marco Dessardo, France, A TUMP for Thanatopolis
Claudia Dinep, Connecticut, (trans)Migration Garden
James Dinh, California, (trans)Lines in the Woods
Cecil Howell, California, Senescence
Elena Kalman, Connecticut, Proposed Architectural Complex
Amanda Martin Katz, New York, Penn Yan/Elegy
KS3: Myung-Sun Kim, Joy Shipman, Clara Shipman, John Shipman, Rhode Island, Canada, Leaves of Grass
Benjamin Monette & Emily McCoy, Pennsylvania, Re-compose
Brendan Ravenhill, California, A Vehicle for Remembrance
Georgianna Wells, New York, Impressions
Guest Artists
Miya Ando, New York, Obon [Meditation 1-8]
Holly Ewald, Rhode Island, Twins
Carolina Rubio-MacWright, New York, Drifting Love
Nhan Nguyen, Canada, Calling for the Widow Ba
*Jordan McKenzie was not able to participate in person due to a scheduling conflict. However, he collaborated remotely with the I-Park creative team and was assisted by members of the other Performance/Ritual troupes to realize an alternative/simplified version of his original proposal. We are pleased that we were able to work through this challenge to create a significant piece for the Thanatopolis Exhibition.
Extraordinary Creative, Conceptual Contributions
François Fréchet, France and Cornelia Konrads, Germany
Special appreciation for their early and ongoing commitment to the Thanatopolis project
To all who came out for the Thanatopolis Exhibition, thanks so much for your support. And lots of appreciation is in order to the staff and volunteers, the Symposium panelists, the Thanatopolis jurors and the professional support team — for making this, I-Park’s most ambitious special project to date, a most gratifying success.
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