For our throwaway times, I propose creating a moving series of images that reference the traditional Memento Mori and Vanitas. Photographic imagery connected to these traditions (an animal skull, flowers, books) will appear and move slowly within the oval shaped projection, alongside some of the accoutrements of modern living, like mobile phones, social media icons, anti-wrinkle creams and money. The film will be on a continuous loop, and its appearance will be something like a moving/animated painting.
Memento Mori is a Latin term that in English means, “Remember you must die”. This reminder of mortality is not meant to be morbid or make people fearful, but to inspire and motivate people to make the best of their lives. The idea has been a central theme in art, philosophy, literature and architecture throughout history. Related to Memento Mori, Vanitas is a still life tradition of painting that also reminds us of the vanity (as in ultimate worthlessness) of worldly pleasures and goods. The term originally comes from the opening lines of the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible: ‘Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ These words particularly inspired the Dutch Golden Age artists of the 17th century, who used still life as a kind of moral instruction.