Chicago Honors Ideas

by J-Touchette

JFK said, "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death."

In Chicago, a group of creative professionals put on a series of funerals in the month of May, 2011. One funeral for each Sunday in the month. The event was called Five Funerals. Wondering how these creative people were able to plan five funerals over a month ahead of time? They weren’t for people.

These unique funerals were for ideas. They celebrated the death of multiculturalism on May 1, 2011. They gave this funeral the description, “Putting to rest that woebegone buzzword of our collective effort to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, this unspecified yet decidedly non-denominational service features a politically correct bagpiper, an ethnic-inclusive fully translated eulogy, and gender-specific roller derby pallbearers. Can’t we all just get along?”

May 8, 2011 brought the “Wake for the West: Racetrack Player.” Which the funeral creators gave the description, “Attend this funeral not for a lonesome cowboy, but rather for the recollection of a history that goes beyond geography to become a way of life. This funeral will involve a video screening, performative odes, and elegiac artwork by the bereaved. The event will culminate in a cacti dole, sharing succulents around the campfire.”

Five funerals went on to hold a funeral for something they claim refuses to die, public access television on May 15, 2011. The description goes, “This is your chance to rip the nails out of a proverbial coffin. Public Access Television, bastion of free speech and loyal community via the airwaves, refuses to be laid to rest despite the motion towards media centralization. The events that shape this funeral promise to range from the performative to the informative√± video presentations, TV stars, and an edible homage to the test pattern color bars. Kid-friendly funeral with food and fun. Please stand by.”

With the funeral for the traditional communication public access television, another archaic method of messaging was remembered. On May 22, 2011, the written letter was commemorated. The event planners said, “This treasured and obsolete form of communication will be honored through a collective act of written correspondence while sipping custom cocktails by Death’s Door Spirits. In this Victorian-style ceremony, mourners may assist in the preparation of the body by creating a letter and joining in the procession to the long forgotten ‘mailbox’. Bring your address book! We will be mailing out your handwritten letters at the funeral. Return to sender.”

Finally, the last thing whose life was celebrated was painting, in particular modernist painting. For paintings, the organizers had this to say, “Beloved son of Clement Greenberg, Modernist Painting, died May 29th 2011 in Chicago, IL, at his residence quietly above the couch. He was preceded in death by Romanticism and other isms. He is survived by no one. Mr. Painting will be remembered as video projections of a collaborative painting put to death by fire will be accompanied by musical performances throughout the afternoon. We are blue, just as Yves Klein predicted.”

All the events included special guests, and musical performances and was funded by a grant from the Propeller Fund.

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Five Funerals

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