Photo: Anna Eckold

Final Fantasies


There is an important question for everyone whose life is about to end: "How would you like to die?" This question embraces a condition of the body, a location, and a presence / absence of other people. People in hospices are not always given the chance to die as they wish. Despite the very best efforts, often there is no "machinery," no logistics, and no skills to provide them with the desirable surroundings of death. But it could happen—via art and artists. I would like to work with people who are about to die, trying to create an environment which they imagine as ideal for their deaths. I suppose the work might range from travelling to places wellremembered by the dying people in order to film the locations, to making it possible for people to die in water, in a forest, or in a particular town in Germany, to painting a designated room in a particular color.


The social energy cumulating in activities of art institutions and galleries, flowing through nonprofit or artist-run organizations, is addressed, naturally, to the living. The sick and the dying are separated from the mainstream of life due to their disease, weakness, and a psychological barrier. We don’t know how to behave knowing that the person we face will die within a certain time and knowing that she/he knows it as well. There is no social script for such a situation. So the exclusion is double—caused by the natural need of daily, intensive care and by society’s fear of death that these people inevitably represent. The basic aim of the community and therefore society, however, is to take care of those who are invisible. This is where politics comes down to its major and irreducible duty. Still, dividing lines separate sick and disabled bodies from the healthy population. So goes the mental segregation. So goes art and artists.


The project Final Fantasies proposes, on one hand, to focus artists on this invisible part of society, and on the other, at an inclusion of the sick and dying into the spectrum of the audience. And this is the best audience indeed, as in the face of an upcoming end, huge areas of life seem to lose their value. What remains is a need to embrace and to express the most important matters. Art that floods the galleries and museums can, with careful and intelligent insight, serve as a passage and existential instrument for the last, or at least a difficult, chapter of life.

by Joanna Rajkowska

Joanna Rajkowska is an artist and member of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique). She lives and works in Warsaw, London, and now Berlin.

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I decided to give birth to my daughter Rosa in the Charité hospital in Berlin. The city was her first location for contact with the world. For the rest of her life, when asked: “Where were you born?”, she will answer: “In Berlin”. [...]More >


Akademie der Künste

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10th Berlin Biennale