“Niloufar Talebi’s contemporary altar, everyonedies, investigates through technology the catalytic effects of the emotional threads that bind us together in universal human experiences such as birth and death. The installtion, comprised of video and digital projection, draws upon the text of Epiphany, which Talebi wrote for soloist (dying person), and chorus (composed of the two distinct voices of family/mourners, and priests/vigilers), juxtaposing and weaving these three narratives...”

  1. 1.The dying person: this narrative charts the most personal thoughts and concerns of a dying person. I read accounts of what the dying usually say in their last days, and had numerous conversations with people who had witnessed the death of either loved ones, or of random people dying unexpectedly before them.

  2. 2.Family and mourners: this narrative is all about the loss and grief loved ones experience around and beyond the deathbed.

  3. 3.Vigilers and priests: this third narrative is the voice of professional vigilers. Epiphany’s text is mainly based on the vigiling that Tibetan Buddhist priests provide through rituals and prayers included in the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol). I also borrowed text from the beautiful and lyrical body of 14th Century Aztec poetry on life and death. And finally, the narrative includes gems from conversations with professionals who take alternative (rather than institutional) approaches to caregiving in their work with the dying and their families. Two such extraordinary and generous vigilers were Megory Anderson of the Sacred Dying Foundation, and Andrea Deerheart of the HeartWay: Conscious Living and Dying, both interfaith practitioners.

Thank you to Farima Berenji and Mahni Ghorashi for their generous appearance in this digital project. Background artwork is ‘Yellow Horizon’ by Missy Engelhardt.


By Niloufar Talebi 

Art installation at SOMArts Gallery

‘Day of the Dead’ show

Opening night October 12, 2012, 6-9 PM

thru November 10, 2012