Contact by Andrés de Varona
Contact is a reconnection to death through the practice of rituals and performance. I create these ceremonies myself and with family members, while often incorporating the last article of clothing that was purchased yet never worn by my mother before she died. I seek to compose a rich visual exploration of grief and loss; *of getting close with death against a cultural context that couches one of life’s few hard guarantees.
As we navigate transitioning familial roles and responsibilities, we create spaces that allow us to confront the psychological and somatic shock that death delivers. In modern society death is something that’s become nearly invisible and something that’s typically told to us rather than witnessed due to many medical advancements, technology, and societal norms. In this series, we build a spiritual connection to death by re-inviting it into the home space and our outside environments.
Though this project is informed by spiritualism, I do not capture spirits. The visibility of death throughout the late 19th and early 20th century pushed citizens for a new understanding of what it meant to die, and the camera was a science that was thought to give answers to this mystery. In a similar way, my family and I choose to reclaim death by working alongside it and critiquing the lengths we go to sanitize it.
*Reference from Roula Seikaly's Portfolio Review
Andrés de Varona lives and works in Santa Fe, NM.
To view more of Andrés’ work, please visit his website.