Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Dying Under Your Eyes. Still.
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Dying Under Your Eyes

>> at the Ojārs Vācietis Museum

“Our whole essence as conscious and living beings is defined by the knowledge of death. I guess one of my interests in the politics of death and dying is that it is a heightened version of life,” claims Oreet Ashery in one of her recent interviews. 

She perceives illness, death and dying to be a misbehaviour in capitalism’s proposal for a ceaselessly bio-power based life. Her work explores queer and outsider death and dying, the politics of digital after life in individual and collective aspects as well as feminist reincarnation and artistic withdrawal as a sharp questioning of the institutional approaches to care and social loss.

Dying Under Your Eyes (27 minutes, 2019) is a queer ballad of loss and grief underscored by political dark humour. The recent audio-visual essay by Oreet Ashery incorporates the footage she made of her parents with her smartphone between 2011 and 2018. Playing with the form of a diary structurally, the film shares the last seven years of her father’s life as an ongoing act of mourning and healing.

Dying Under Your Eyes recounts daily life in various symbolic settings, records the ageing process in a panning reflection on care, mourning and the obviousness of death. The dark humour that is idiosyncratic in Ashery’s universe comes as a strategy of survival for many individuals and cultures alongside the experience of diasporic Jewishness. Punctuating the film, Ashery dresses in her father’s clothes to flesh him out and empathize with him in an effort to make sense of her family’s history in a dense atmosphere of grief.