The Fifth Chapter (Memento Mori)


A response to the 2016 ISTD prompt “Undiscovered Country”.

‘Memento mori’ is a Latin term meaning “remember that you must die”. Death being a confronting topic questioning our own mortality, I came across religious and historical literary texts which mentioned themes of “memento mori”. For example, “Remember Man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return” is a quote based off the Christian religious practice of Ash Wednesday where they are reminded of the mortal sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I came across a text called “Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial”, a 17th-century text by Sir Thomas Browne which describes in detail of all known burial and funerary customs of the time. Despite its objective and descriptive usage, the fifth chapter of the book is suddenly a personal and subjective monologue surrounding the themes of death.

‘The Fifth Chapter‘ is a hardcover book with dusty textures that adapts Browne’s fifth and final chapter of ‘Hydriotaphia’. Footnotes are taken away from the page to create symbolic ‘mementoes’ for death.

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