Grief in a site of post-conflict
Belfast has been both on the periphery of Europe and in the forefront of western media, represented as a place of prolonged conflict. Her peace agreement is based on mutually acknowledged difference rather than commonality. In this context the semiotics of death become territorial markers and points of exclusivity. My concern has been to find a way to communicate the cross-cultural knowledge of grief whilst avoiding the pitfalls of memorialisation, and to subvert the mediated imagery of Belfast and explore a common representation of grief: the widow.
I have found that the process of grief itself is both private and public and there is no easy bridge between the two. All this work became concerned with examining the ‘unintelligibility’ of the internal process of grieving, what anthropologist Veena Das called ‘bad death’. Trying to find a visual language for something that only yields itself in parts, that is messy and unforgiving.
The work involved photography, group discussion, guided walking tours, workshops, video, installation, encounters, my own personal experience of grief and of those willing to participate..