Outset has supported the research publication of internationally renowned artist TARYN SIMON connected to her performance work An Occupation of Loss, which confronts audiences with an intense live experience of professionalised grief from different cultures across the world.
Known for collecting images and data in complex and forbidden circumstances, Taryn Simon reverses the process in this project, bringing the sensory experience to one central site. The accompanying publication provides new research essays and a document to this defining exhibition. In it, Simon creates a detailed record of her years researching professional mourning, which culminated in the performance co-commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory and Artangel. The book leads the reader through the complicated visa application process for the mourners invited to enter the United States and the United Kingdom, revealing the underlying structures governing global exchange, the movement of bodies, and the hierarchy of art and culture.
In the words of art writer Hettie Judah, “The research and bureaucracy behind An Occupation of Loss are formidable – there is no database of traditional mourning practices, or indeed of professional mourners. Simon found herself pursuing word of mouth links over years, between anthropologists, historians and musicologists.”