Intimate

What relationship does our current society have with death?

What will happen to our individual freedoms?

This need to drift into melancholy this morning, to acknowledge the flooding emotions, to shed tears after a few benevolent words appear, to listen to Avishai Cohen and let his soul meet what is beyond us.

 

Life and death, overwhelmingly inseparable yet deliberately undisclosed. Embrace what comes without ever surrendering, believe in this force that thrives within us and to live.  

 

Yes, to live.  Each moment, with each breath and with each parcel of our body. Every encounter, every friendship, everything that feeds our existence. Disclose to all you love them with no further delay. Because life is devoured now....

 

Thomas, April 25, 2020

The images immerse us in the raw reality of our intimate world and the query about our awareness of death.  This crisis humanity is undergoing reveals our refusal to see it inherent in the cycle of life.

 

Claudine, 80 years old, born at the start of World War 2, looks in the face of death and accepts this natural end, thus embracing each moment with serenity.  "I have the age that I have, I am alive, and if tomorrow I were to bow down then I would have lived without concession."

 

Mary, 75, surrendered to Covid19 on April 15, alone, stranded in confinement in the name of this death that one does refuse to see. Artist and poet, have I left unattended the one who introduced me to Brel, poetry and photography?  Is it this fear of illness and suffering that keeps us apart?

 

Thomas, 50, faced with the reality of scanners, MRIs and other iconography revealing a brain tumor that has accompanied me for the past 5 years. I had to listen to it, understand what it told me, accept it and above all acknowledge the finite nature of one’s biological life.  A recurrence is announced to me on April 22.  Strange synchronism with this crisis of humanity.

 

Our post-millennial society no longer tolerates disease, non-perfection or death.  The question today can no longer be : to postpone or escape death, solely salvaging a "bare life" to use the expression of the philosopher Giorgio Agamben.  Faced with a permanent state of exception, the question of our individual freedoms is crucially posed in the face of drifts that could arise "to protect the population from death at all costs".

Brussels, Belgium, March . June 2020

​© 2020 thomas de wouters

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My photography is necessarily an interpretation of reality, subjective, but it captures instants of life without ever trying to distort it by an artificial construction