A team of curators, design researchers and producers from Poland reached out to us excited at the prospect of exhibiting the Bios Urn ® in their national exhibition “Good Death”.
The exhibition ‘Good Death’ launched on the 4th July 2020 and is part of Gdynia Design Days, one of the biggest Baltic design festivals.
Their aim for this show is to tame the topic of death, “which for European culture is still a taboo” they tell us. Although, there have been some attempts of changes on this field, especially in the funeral industry as well as on an emotional level. They are curious what the role of design in those changes is and can it potentially be the answer to current problems and thus can generate new products, services or even experiences around death.
The key question they hope to answer is: How to design the experience of a good death today?
Interview with the creators of the Good Death exhibition
- What inspired the upcoming exhibition Good Death?
The exhibition is the result of the personal interests of the curators. The topic of death in design has accompanied us for several years. We observed emerging projects and solutions, new methods of burial and changing people’s needs and expectations. Certainly, our personal experiences, the loss of friends or parents, was also significant. The theme of this year’s edition of the Gdynia Design Days is ATTENTION! We thought it was a great opportunity to talk about the funeral revolution, the positive death movement and the need for change in our country.
- For people all around the world, please tell us more about “Gdynia Design Days” which the exhibition will be part of?
Gdynia Design Days (GDD) is a top Baltic design festival. Each edition of GDD serves as a pretext to discuss topics related to broadly-understood design in the context of changes taking place around us. The exhibitions, workshops, lectures and debates we offer concern topical subjects in the field of technology, process design, ecology, design, fashion, architecture, urban development and craft. Through what we do, we connect the design world with the world of business. Gdynia Design Days is an event addressed to professionals and to everyone who is fascinated by design and interested in finding out more about the changes taking place in dynamically developing societies.
We believe that design can be an instrument of change. We want to inspire business, designers and our audiences to act, using design as a tool for efficient and sustainable growth. We are convinced that an open mind and a mindful approach may lead us to new solutions, which are so desperately needed today.
- How can someone see the exhibition?
This year’s edition has the form of an online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions. It is prepared in two languages (English and Polish) so we hope that it will also interest viewers from outside of Poland, although we realize that there will probably be fewer of them than during the regular edition of the event.
You can join by clicking this link. We cordially invite you to participate in the event! It is for anyone and everyone eager to explore the changes taking place around the subject of death.
- How is death approached in Poland?
In our country there is still a very strong and lively tradition of visiting the graves of loved ones.
We have a beautiful day of the dead on November 1st. At the same time, there are no well-designed coffins, urns, candles, gravestones. Changes are taking place, but very slowly.
- What would be a typical ceremony around death in Poland?
Poland is a mostly Catholic country, so traditional burials dominate, recommended by the church.
It can be seen that the number of secular ceremonies and cremations that have been allowed in the Catholic rite has been increasing for several years. However, the funeral industry in Poland is hiding data on the amount of cremations. The last ones come from 2014. Cremation is also increasingly popular for financial reasons, hence the resistance of the funeral business. You can see that people expect a change in the law. In Poland, ashes can only be buried in an urn at a cemetery. Scattering or burying the urn with ashes outside the cemetery is illegal, so planting a biodegradable urn in a public space such as a forest is not an option for people. There are no such thing as as a green cemetery or a natural burial ground in Poland.
People expect new forms of funeral ceremonies, but changes are taking place very slowly in our country.
- Is it normal there for someone to pre-plan their own end of life plans?
Rather not, it is very rare. Our exhibition is to encourage people to talk about death, burial, wishes related to the last goodbye. During preparations for the exhibition, we made contact with hospices, designers, funeral fair organizers and people interested in the topic of death, and we hope that in addition to the exhibition, we will be able to gradually and systematically increase interest on this topic in the Polish society.
- What new trends do you think are rising relating to choices around death and the funeral industry?
Interest in burials that do not threaten the environment and that are more eco-friendly are on the rise.
The amount of cremations is increasing. Greater awareness that death is an important stage of life requires preparation, conversation, support, and development of palliative hospices. We have the first person in Poland who is preparing for the role of a death doula.
The concept of a cemetery – a park – is very close to us. However, we realize that we are not representative of the Polish society because we have fairly progressive views and belong to the world of design.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Good Death exhibition is available online from 4th to 11th July 2020 for the first time in history. Further information is available on their website.
What do you think of the Good Death exhibition? We would love to hear from you in the Comments section below!
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