Maybe exploring graves on the outskirts of the Brisbane CBD, singing songs adjacent to a cemetery and pretending to be a corpse that's being washed and prepared for burial is your idea fun. Maybe it isn't. Either way, indulging in morbid-leaning pastimes or challenging yourself to face the end that awaits us all is on the agenda at Brisbane's newest festival, Deathfest.
Running from November 12 to 20, Metro Arts' latest program of live art, music, film, visual art, discussions and social events wants attendees to confront death, literally. No, the grim reaper won't be there, but you will have to contemplate the weighty subject. We know, we know, it's a topic most of us choose not to think about, other than in a vague, YOLO-like way by reading trashy vampire fiction, or crying when the killer year that is 2016 keeps offing our artistic heroes. The Brissie arts venue knows this too, in fact, increasing death literacy in the community and finding a new way to embrace grief are among its chief aims.
No wonder it's the first arts and culture festival of its kind in Queensland. And, no wonder it has compiled an array of out-of-the-box (or coffin) events and activities designed to push attendees out of their comfort zones. Taking place at a number of locations around the city, they include a concert of songs about leaving people and life behind, a theatrical dance piece about love and loss, a Yarn storytelling session focused on the experience of mourning, and a musical performance that uses sounds of endangered and extinct animals. And, plenty of talking: about dying in general over wine and cheese, and in an artist-filled panel session on what it means to die well.
Elsewhere, you'll spy divination cards in Fish Lane that draw attention to bigger existential questions, and images of wildflowers in Eagle Lane stressing the importance of thinking about what came before. Plus, tying in with Metro Arts' newly revamped Lumen Room, a feast of appropriately themed films also feature. Griefwalker provides a poetic portrait of dying people talking about their predicament, while Oscar-winning Japanese effort Departures follows a man working at a funeral home. Or, relive what still ranks as Hayley Joel Osment and M. Night Shyamalan's career highlight, aka The Sixth Sense. You know exactly why it's appropriate.
Deathfest takes places from November 12 to 20 at Metro Arts and other venues around Brisbane. Visit the festival website for more information.