The idea behind the purification grave
The purification grave
The message of the art project THE PURIFICATION GRAVE - memento mori is: really take some time for yourself, consider that your life is finite. You are vulnerable and it can be over with your life, your health, your loved ones, at once. Why run and hunt like a slave, chasing goals that sometimes only cause more frustration, only more pressure. We live, you could almost say, in a kind of burn-out society (Byung-Chul Han). Characteristic of this society is that we take no rest. We are always in action: in our studies, at work and when we have a quiet moment on social media. There is never a real moment of rest in which we do nothing at all and above all do not have to do anything.
Always busy with your profile, your self-development, your self-realization; it is an endless affair that leads nowhere. Because it will be never completed. It is never good enough, it can always be better, be more, be faster. Many show their best side on social media. However, nobody knows that there is also fear, doubts and uncertainties in your heart.
The body is also involved: having to exercise until you drop. The body is sometimes treated as if it is a machine that has to deliver performances. You want to achieve a good condition and physically be fit so you can work or study harder and better. Sport is no longer relaxation. Sport is now part of the regime of having to perform. This is visible in the world of students. Burnout is imminent and many can't handle the stress.
The purification grave in our garden is an invitation to listen carefully to yourself. To be aware of your finiteness. What drives you? What is the cork on which you float in this ocean of possibilities? Where do you find solid ground under your feet? In other words: What makes sense, what really gives meaning to your life?
Melissa, one of the students who was lying in the grave, says that for her the personal relationship with people she loves was the most important thing for her. She was well aware of this when she was in the grave. Not the diploma, not the achievement, not the ambition and prestige, but love is the most important thing.
In our society there is not only the pressure to perform very high, but next tot that the demand for meaning has got more and more into the background. Giving life meaning is no longer the core of our existence, certainly for the younger generation that is now growing up. In their experiences, giving life meaning is no longer in the center of their life. The experience of meaningfulness seems to be not so important because worldly temptations take up all the space: the mammon beckons you, and the world lures with bonuses, with performance rewards, with events, with festivals, with happiness in a nutshell. Working hard during the week and go wild and out of your head when you're free. Parties and more parties. But what if, besides your work, your studies, your relationships, your relaxation, you have nothing else to live for - no further goals in your life, something that gives you more guidance and more depth? Something you want to dedicate your life to? Ideals, higher goals? They can give you support in your life, even when things go wrong. If you suffer great losses because a loved one dies. Death comes in every life. Therefore, we put the urgent question to think about it now and then, to think about what you really care about, what really matters in your life. The purification grave is an invitation to listen carefully to yourself in all the hustle and bustle, on a deeper level. You are dust and you will return to dust.
John Hacking 12 November 2019