FROM SEPTEMBER 18, 2019, UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020, DOWNTOWN KITCHENER’S THEMUSEUM WILL PRESENT WHAT’S SURE TO BE A MARVELLOUSLY-MORBID EXHIBITION, AFTERLIFE: A SÉANCE. IN JUNE, TOQUE SAT DOWN WITH THEMUSEUM’S TAYLOR MARSKELL TO CHAT ABOUT THE UPCOMING EXHIBITION. HERE’S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:
THEMUSEUM IS POISED TO ASK THE QUESTION: ‘WHAT DOES DEATH MEAN TO YOU?’ TELL US MORE.
In Afterlife: A Séance Experience THEMUSEUM is set to explore what we like to call life’s greatest adventure – what (might) happen after we die. The exhibition, which runs from September 18th 2019 to January 5th 2020, will include exploration of spiritualism, ritual, and death, and invite discussion about how we as a society handle death. It will also address how different cultures view the loss of life. You could say that Afterlife will celebrate and explore the dark theme of supernatural storytelling, death, séances, darkness, ritual, and folklore.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS FEATURED IN THE EXHIBITION (AND WHAT DOES DAVID BOWIE HAVE TO DO WITH THIS)?
The exhibition features local award-winning graphic artist Vincent Marcone, known by his pseudonym My Pet Skeleton. Vincent’s work and the online worlds he created as My Pet Skeleton caught the attention of David Bowie, Guillermo Del Toro, Clive Barker, and the Godfather of Goth himself, Peter Murphy. His particular approach to painting album covers, designing intricate online worlds, and directing weirdo music videos earned him awards from places as diverse as the Emmys, the Junos, and even a Cannes Film Festival nomination for his short film, “The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow.”
Also featured in the exhibition is Mere Phantoms, a Montreal based duo made up of artists Maya Ersan and Jaimie Robson, who draw on traditions of shadow theatre, early cinema and papercutting to create immersive environments that both rely upon and explore the possibilities of audience participation.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE A FAVOURITE ASPECT OF THE EXHIBITION THAT ATTENDEES WILL EXPERIENCE?
First you will tour the recreated living room from the Frederick Street home where séances occurred in the 1960’s. Then, in a darkened room, you will experience a séance featuring the ghost of Thomas Lacey.
The project is in collaboration with artists Erin MacIndoe Sproule and Rebecca Swabey from Anthroscope Media and the Special Collections & Archives at the University of Waterloo Library. Thomas Lacey was an outstanding medium active in Kitchener- Waterloo and Hamilton. The exhibition showcases actual audio recordings of his séances from the 1960’s – including spirits whom he channeled.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE EXPECT TO EXPERIENCE AT THIS EXHIBITION?
Through a series of dialogues, workshops, adult programming, and events, this exhibition aims to challenge suppositions, provoke discussion and educate people about one of the most taboo topics out there. In a respectful and informed manner, it will address questions such as: What really happens after life? How do we grieve? What about ghosts? Why does death feel like an end?
AFTERLIFE: A SÉANCE EXPERIENCE SPANS HALLOWEEN. ARE THERE PLANS TO FEATURE ANYTHING SPECIAL OVER THIS BEWITCHED HOLIDAY?
On All Hallows Eve, Afterlife will give way to an immersive dance production, presented by TranscenDance Project, that recreates Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Audience members are greeted, masqued and then set free to roam the three floors of the museum as the story unfolds around them … and sometimes interacts with them. You might see it as a kind of choose-your-own-adventure experience, reinforcing the exhibit Afterlife’s central theme (in the words of Bram Stoker): ‘Do you know where you are going, and what you are going to?’ (Bram Stoker, Dracula 1897)