Proposal by: Susanne Duijvestein

Nokanshi Dreams

Project proposal

Preparing a dead body for a funeral often takes place behind closed doors, outsourced to deathcare professionals. If it’s up to Susanne Duijvestein, funeral director and Nature Morte curator, we would wash our loved ones ourselves, at home and give it ritual meaning. In a ritual performance, Susanne shares her nokanshi dreams, referring to the Japanese art of washing the dead. As a reflection on death culture, Susanne will perform an intimate ritual washing in which our senses are central to experiencing this washing as a healing rite de passage.


Nokanshi Dreams by Susanne Duijvestein - A poster for the performance Nokanshi Dream. Where Susanne Duijvestein will learn you more about the japanese ritual to wash the dead. Susanne Duijvestein

Description of the project:

This performance would take place at Mediamatic’s, ideally in the center of the soft darkness of the barn, surrounded by a small amount of people that are placed in a circle around the performance setting. The setting needs nothing more than a katafalk, two performers, a model and ritual artefacts.

Performing Nokanshi dreams fits in the Nature Morte series around the topic of death. It reflects on our culture of dealing with death and especially in our unnatural and disconnecting ways we tend to deal with dead bodies. The performance invites to reimagine death rituals.

Who I want to work with:

Ideally, Susanne weaves this ritual together with:

  • Guusje Segond von Banchet | healthcare professional and designer | I will perform

    the ritual together with Guusje

  • Rachel Sellem | sculptor, artist | for creating a ritual washing bowl

  • Merle Bergers | scent artist | for providing a ritual scent

    Most of the needed material will be developed or created by Susanne. If possible, we would love to ask human ecology artist Arne Hendriks for helping us create a mycelium katafalk. Of course we also have to involve a model, a model willing to be almost nude.

    Format and costs

    The performance takes about an hour in total. Preparation in the barn also about an hour. It would ideally take place in the evening, as a Nature Morte event with a small audience, with maybe some Q&A and drinks afterwards. So if we present this as an event, there could also be a ticket sale.

    The estimated costs of the performance of Nokanshi dreams can be 500 euros:

  • Compensation model: 150 euro

  • Compensation Guusje: 100 euro

  • Ritual bowl by Rachel Sellem: 50 euro

  • Compensation Merle Bergers: 100 euro

  • Other purchases (soap, spunges, candles, ...): 100 euro

This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2021.