Cultural Activism Ontological Politics Our Philosophy

The Cycle of Completion and Creation
Or, a funeral for the past is key to creating a new future

There is a movement in the air with an urgency to create new narratives for our civilization. At Life Itself, we believe this is a central dimension to a wiser, weller world.

Recently, we have been working on this at Untitled with Demos Helsinki. In the process we have noticed something. As we tried to create new narratives the past kept creeping in. There was a surprising lack of imagination, of freedom.

Why was this? As we looked deeper, we sensed that we are creating from reaction and not from nothing. We were held by the past – in fact, the harder we tried to be different the more we were the same. What we realised is that authentic creation can only be born out of completion, like the flower blooming from the composted soil of its ancestors. 

We called this the “cycle of completion and creation”. 

Cycle of Completion and Creation

And it is especially hard to do in a culture that is neo-addicted and in denial of death. Where our rituals for mourning and completion are unused and unfamiliar.

So how do we begin to complete the past so that we can create anew? We start with funerals, with requiems, with mourning so that the past may rest in peace and the future is free of its ghosts.

Update: April 2021: We are now working on Requiem for a Passing Age with Simon Longstaff based on these ideas planned for launch in late 2021. Get in touch if you would like to know more.

By Sylvie Shiwei Barbier

Sylvie Shiwei Barbier is an Artist and Co-founder of Life Itself