Living Arrangement


Though flowers may mark bereavement, express sympathy, ornament a funeral space, or remember our dead, cut flowers rot and decay as bodies do. In the florist industry, flowers are arranged and preserved as embalmed bodies, metaphors for the impact of dying processes and death customs on the living. I explore the complex, layered cultural action of taking fresh flowers to a graveside by making a robe out of cut flowers arranged to resemble a casket spray and wearing the garment in a cemetery each day. As my living body wears dead and dying objects, I am laden with the memories of those I have buried and with the inevitability of my own death. At such an extreme size and form, the garment uses humor to exaggerate the idea of adorning a grave (or a woman’s body) while also recognizing the cultural seriousness of remembering the dead. As the flowers show their age day by day, I point to the role of repetition in processes of remembering, but I also explore the idea that my body, too, grows older each day.

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