Humans are the only beings who know that they will die. The knowledge of our transience is a driving force for art, culture and science and confronts us with existential, individual and global questions. The Humboldt Forum dedicates a multi-voiced program to the topic of living with death with a scenically designed special exhibition, an event and mediation program, and an accompanying book.
How do we live with death? What is a good death? What will remain of us? With these questions and a cinematic prologue about the role of Homo Sapiens in the universe, you will embark on a tour of the exhibition. The special feature: Installations and spatial experiences make it possible to experience the topic in a multimedia and interactive way. Voices from different faith communities talk about their ideas of the afterlife. You become part of a video conference with people from twelve countries who have in common that they accompany other people into death.
An audio light narration conveys to you from a scientific-medical perspective what happens during dying. You will gain insight into special traditions of handling the bodies of the deceased and into an Islamic corpse washing. And you will encounter questions that lie far beyond your own horizon: How (in)equal are living and dying conditions worldwide? What responsibility do we have for the death of other people? And is the current extinction of species even threatening the self-extinction of our species?
A free brochure will be published to accompany the exhibition. It serves as an orientation, offers background information on the respective acts and scenes, and cross-references to the book. Audre Lorde, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Abdulrazak Gurnah and many other strong voices of literature have dealt with dying, mourning and death. Browse novels, nonfiction, and children's books compiled by Philipp Khabo Koepsell in the final room of the exhibit.
Guided tours and workshops
Would you prefer to approach the topic in company? With the question How do we live with death? guided tours and workshops for adults and pupils* from the 7th grade look at the exhibition. They will discover the scenically designed rooms together, discuss, question and make references to the presentations in the Humboldt Forum. The workshops were developed in cooperation with the Björn Schulz Foundation , which provides professional support for children with life-shortening illnesses and their families. Further training for educators and multipliers is also planned.
The program of events focuses on a lively examination of death across different art forms and generations. In the consultation hour, you will come into direct conversation with a companion for the dying, a pathologist, a policewoman or a mourning speaker. Discuss with filmmakers and scientists at the film night. Feel death and comfort through the music of a concert by the Resident Music Collective on Easter weekend.
Experience narratives about death for adults and children and look at picture books about dying and death with and through children's eyes. As a highlight of the event program, we invite you and all your friends and acquaintances to the Mexican Feast of the Dead at the Humboldt Forum - with music, performance, family program and an altar decorated also by you.
Book for the exhibition
The book un_endlich. Leben mit dem Tod (Living with Death) illuminates the topic from different perspectives and brings together documentary contributions, essays, interviews and artistic image series: a text by philosopher Stephen Cave on the "Four Ways to Live Forever," conversations with twelve representatives of different faiths on "Contemporary Ideas of the Afterlife," the photo series "Dead and Alive" by Klaus Bo , as well as contributions by Cristina Cattaneo, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Robin Wall Kimmerer and many others. The book will be available in the Humboldt Forum store from the end of March and can be ordered online.