In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Performance

In Memoriam, 15 min, Performance, projection mapped video, wool, artificial flowers, thread

My father, George Bitsicas, a second-generation Greek immigrant, passed away on June 15, 2020.  George loved everything about water, from fishing to boating to simply listening to the waves.  His last wishes were to live on forever in the water, so in December of 2021, I visited Greece to leave him with the waves.  I documented the last moments, when he combined with the vibrant blue sea, knowing that he will always be there to visit again. The sea becomes a space for memory and unity between my father, myself and our heritage, and a space of renewal for my Greek identity.

The ritualistic qualities of the immersive performance are a nod to my familial history but are also symbolic for the collective grief and trauma our world is going through that motivates an emotive and healing response from the viewer.  I wear modernized funeral garb as I decorate the three caskets made of felted wool, one for each member of my family.  Wool is used to create cremation burial shrouds since the material is biodegradable and becomes a natural rich compost for burial trees. I alternate the decorative flower ritual between the 3 wool shrouds placed on the ground. The pattern references the skeletal structure of the body. The flowers represent the memories of those we’ve lost, which are sometimes so vivid that you think they are still alive. As I move between the wool coffins, the red thread slowly wraps around my body, tightening on my hands. This is inspired by the painted ribbons on the tombs of the historical Greek burial sites.  The red threads signify a connection to the dead, and back to the earth.

Hand-made fibers casket made in collaboration with Cynthia Evans.