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Using Art Practice to explore acknowledgement of the unidentified dead (video, audio only, presentation)

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posted on 24.02.2021, 08:26 by The Association for the Study of Death and Society, Katie Taylor

Katie's event showcased her work and discussed her creative practice approach to the acknowledgement of unidentified dead, aiming to raise questions about how we consider, think about and remember the lives that were lived by unidentified human remains.


Gelatine is a biopolymer that is typically a waste product from the food industry. When mixed with glycerine it produces a fairly robust clear, sheet material. Gelatine is bodily, it is made from pig collagen sourced from skin, bone and connective tissue. Pork gelatine also references forensics as in the UK without an Anthropology Research Facility or body farm, pigs are used to train cadaver dogs because they are so close to the human body. Gelatine Bioplastic is transparent, ephemeral and malleable, and easily made in a home kitchen. It is Ghostly - Haunting our own presence within the space, a physical embodiment of what is missing, but barely there because of the transparency. Bioplastic is also biodegradable, slowly breaking down as our bodies would and becoming part of the surroundings, and like us it is made predominantly of water that slowly evaporates as it dries. Evaporation is also ghostly; moisture held in the air but unseen. These references to the unseen also directly evidence the unseen in society the lonely, the homeless as many of the unidentified people inevitably were.

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