Thursday, July 9, 2015

Better Off Dead


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On July 6 on Facebook, Icelandic artist Snorri Asmundsson made an interesting request: "Looking for dead bodies in the name of the art. I need a corpse for a video installation. If you are dying I would like to borrow your remains after you die. The body will be returned to the undertaker in the “same" condition. Sincerely Snorri Asmundsson."

The performance piece will involve the artist "dancing with the body," according to Hyperallergic, "as soon as possible after the person's death to raise a number of intrusive questions." His intentions are to have the piece last no longer than an hour, after which he will return the corpse.

People have begun to contact Asmundsson, but none are dying soon, so the artist has declined their offers. The voluntary aspect of this project is very important to the artist, who says he will only agree to use someone's body if they consent to its use pre-mortem.
Asmundsson told local Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, “You can go to China or Mexico and buy a body, but I have no interest in that. I'm not that kind of morally corrupt. I want to do this piece in collaboration with the dead, not in the least out of respect for him and his family."

The artist has also hired a lawyer who will prepare contracts with any volunteers.

"In the legal sense, I'm on the right side of the law," he said. "I've never heard of this being illegal, and then again, I've never heard of this being done before."


Lorena said...

I am not easily surprised… but THIS caught me off guard: WTF ?!

cerebral e said...

I've heard of donating your body to science, but never to art! I'm glad that this artist is seeking consent. (Unlike some of those museums that display bodies...).

I shared this article in a post on a palliative care blog (

Shelley said...

um. weird? I'm trying to imagine this and it's just not going well.

Bun Karyudo said...

Poor Snorri. In a perfect world, there would be people about to snuff it all over the place and then he'd be able to hold audtions to see which of them could most convincingly play the role of a corpse after they were dead. He must be terribly upset that so many people seem determined on living a bit longer.