Thesis: Neon Dawn
This project talks about the artificial and the afterlife through the lens of Chinese traditional funeral rituals.
A Chinese traditional funeral is a big event. It’s complicated and ceremonious. It also becomes a standard whether you show your piety to dead.
During the funeral, people will burn fake money, because people believe that the afterlife is similar to the world we are living in now. Through burning, you can send money and other material wealth to the deceased. The event is so elaborate, people will even invite professional criers to the funeral to facilitate proper mourning.
Why is it necessary to hold on to material wealth for the afterlife? My thesis investigates this idea. I wanted to articulate this to a western audience by establishing an online retail store exaggerating these practices.
I filmed 3 criers for the store and rendered out a selection of material goods to buy and burn into the afterlife. All of this artificial wealth under the guise of a cheap online store as a graphic exercise was articulated to highlight the artificial and materialistic nature of this practice.
Is the afterlife the same as when you're alive?
NEON DAWN online afterlife store
Landing page: The website provides products, services and a registry. Death is a new beginning. By providing the services, you are actually sending wealth and love to the deceased. Last chance for brand new beginnings!
Products page: In order to show love to the deceased, the website provides a gold massage chair, gold high heels and all kinds of luxury items. They are all made out of Joss paper, which is easy for you to burn.
Services page: In order to show the overwhelming sadness at the funeral. The website provides three options for professional criers. Every crier has six types of crying. This also includes binary crying or group crying. Differ- ent backgrounds for your crier are available too.
Why do the deceased need wealth in the after life?
To document the work and research I underwent during my thesis I designed the book on a substrate intended for burning. The paper is a type of Joss paper, which is also known as ghost or spirit paper intended traditionally for printing fake money as a means to pass wealth into the spirit realm.
To accompany this ephemeral store experience I wanted to imagine a physical installation, a contemporary approach to mourning for the deceased. Projected video of professional criers are displayed within a thick fog of dry ice. The idea for this is inspired by the symbolism of smoke after the burning of the ephemera. Smoke is visible but you can pass through it, this quality makes it a suitable medium to communicate the afterlife.
All those fake actions, really for who?
Why use fake actions to show your real feelings?