Art and Death in Louisville, Kentucky

March 27, 2012

"Svaardvaard" Bill Bornschein

Perhaps this would have been more appropriately titled “Art, Death, and You,” because with this post I’d like to invite you to explore the 2012 Motherlodge Festival in Louisville. Motherlodge is the brainchild of professional drummer Ray Rizzo. In short, it is a semi-annual cultural exchange between the two cities where Ray splits residence, Louisville and New York. In the Spring, artists, musicians and actors based largely in New York travel to Louisville to share a bite of the Big Apple with Kentucky. In the Fall, Kentuckians reciprocate with a visit to New York. Now in its fourth year, the festival has improved and expanded every year. This year we want to do something new, which is to invite friends of the Ernest Becker Foundation to not only observe, but also participate in the process. Several of the scheduled events will have Beckerian themes. This is by design. As I’ve argued in previous posts, artists are the re-mythologizers of culture and a re-mythologization of death is a necessary component of getting past the denial that grips us. Recall how Becker explains that it is the artist who can confront the terror of mortality by transforming the anxiety through creativity.

The entire schedule for the festival is available at www.motherlodge.com. The schedule can be found under the heading Spring Motherlodge 2012. While the entire festival is wonderful, here are a few specific events that will be of particular interest to you:

  • Artist Jim Gavenus will create an opportunity to explore death through an exhibition of photographs of people at the moment of their passing.
  • Crawling Between Heaven and Hell is a retelling of Hamlet, but set in 1920s rural America. Themes of mortality, power, and denial flow through the entire work.
  • A long table discussion of Becker and death anxiety featuring members of the coroner’s office, a police officer involved with gang violence, members of the Joseph of Arimathea Society who provide burial services for the indigent, a hospice nurse, and others.

The long table discussion will allow participation through Facebook by members of EBF and we encourage you to post questions and comments to the live stream of the event. Here are directions for doing just that. The conversation will be at 3:30 EST on Saturday, March 31.

How to use Facebook chat while watching live Motherlodge shows. All for free!

1. http://www.livestream.com/motherlodgetv. Check out the schedule of live broadcasts listed below the player.

2. During a broadcast, click the Facebook “Check in & Chat” button on the right sidebar.

3. Log in with your Facebook info.

4. In the next window, write a message to invite your friends to chat and click the “Post to Wall” button.

5. You’re there! Enjoy the live broadcast and chat with other people watching online.

This Motherlodge Festival offers a great opportunity to bring artists together with academics, health care professionals, and others to create a richer and more creative dialog about Becker.  Two sets of communities are coming together. Artists are getting exposure from your viewing and participation and the artists are in turn being exposed to Becker and the EBF. This is a small start toward what the dreamer in me hopes will be an ever expanding conversation that produces concrete results. The door is open. Drop in.


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