THE SKY BURIAL
Mat Collishaw’s take on
the Fauré Requiem
“…an attempt to suggest that human relationships with nature were not altogether harmonious and that sublime meditations on death and dying in the form of a Requiem had become difficult for dealing with the inconvenience of death in a highly mechanical, post industrial landscape.”
“At the time of conception COVID-19 was unheard of, and it was only in the final stages of producing the film that the parallels between what was happening in the real world and what I was constructing in the editing suite had certain resonances. However, I don’t believe these events diminish the pertinence of the project, contrarily I think the issue of our uneasy relationship with the natural world has been pushed to the forefront by these harrowing developments. The origins of this virus in the wet markets in Wuhan are a stark example of the price paid for vigorous and inhumane exploitation of wildlife. The rapid spread of the disease exacerbated by relentless international travel has emphasized the pitfalls of fast-paced modern life. That one of the prices paid for this accelerated global migration has become a rigorously policed policy of isolation gives us all pause for real reflection.
While the act of vultures feasting on human flesh appears barbaric, it is not unnatural. I would argue that attuning ourselves more sensitively to the natural world and not becoming blinded by the civilised prisons we have built for ourselves is imperative for our psychological and physical survival.”
“My intention for Faure’s Requiem is to present a large video projection that echoes the themes evoked in the music and resonates with broader issues and concerns in the contemporary world.
I decided to create an ambiguous environment with a dystopian feel in which existing death rites have been placed in uncommon settings.
My starting point was ‘sky burials’, a practice carried out in countries such as Tibet; where the ground is too hard to dig a grave and the altitude too high for trees to grow and burn on a pyre, leading people to use what resources they have; native vultures, in the ‘burial’ of their dead.
I located my film in an inner city tower block, suggesting that some form of catastrophe had taken place, preventing normal burial procedures from taking place. My decision to create an ominous atmosphere was an attempt to suggest that human relationships with nature were not altogether harmonious and that sublime meditations on death and dying in the form of a Requiem had become difficult for dealing with the inconvenience of death in a highly mechanical, post industrial landscape.”
Download the presentation (.pdf, 10 pages, 8,4 Mo)