An Occupation of Loss – Taryn Simon

After reading the New York Times article about Taryn Simon and her project about mourning, and thinking about it with the lecture we had about what cultures and people mourn and the ones that don’t, and how that reflects in the day to day life of the people.

The article explains the general idea of the project, saying that “Simon has brought 30 professional mourners to Manhattan from Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Russia, Venezuela and other parts of the globe as the centerpiece of her multidisciplinary artwork, “An Occupation of Loss,” which opens Tuesday at the Park Avenue Armory and runs through Sept. 25. It explores responses to grief, touching on the empty spaces, private and public, that loss produces, and the chaos, ritual and ceremony that help people fill the void.” -(William L. Hamilton, New York Times)

I found this exercise and resource that Simon provided to be incredibly eye opening and bold, as I feel as though I grew up in a culture that didn’t allow a full process of mourning to occur, which has repercussions for years to follow. In Western culture, there is a practice of a specific day, and maybe a set aside week, to mourn, wear black, and organize life after tragedy. While the process of mourning is incredibly crucial as far as ones mental health goes, many do not have to privilege or give themselves the space to grieve in a way that is healthy and proactive in moving forward in life.


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