THE EMPEDOCLES CLAUSE
film work in progress
“My next project is about what happens after I die,
What do you think happens after I die?”
“Well you are just crystalised in this form a bit like an amethyst,
Except you are more like brown sugar actually, so after you die that sort of melts into something else.”
“And what do you think I want to happen with my body?”
“Well thrown into a volcano I assume”
Conversation with Rowena Bidwell (a friend of my mother's, they met in a lay-by)
After Volcanoes & Regret, where I burnt books full of hundreds of people’s regrets in the volcanoes Etna (Italy) and Gorely (Kamchatka, Russia), I thought, what else can I burn in a volcano? I know: me.
The pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles (who said everything is Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Love & Strife) was said by Diogenes Laertes to have thrown himself into Mt Etna, in order to convince his followers that he was a god, however he made the mistake of leaving a bronze sandal on the rim of the volcano, thus foiling his ploy.
This is a project to decide how my ‘remains’ will be ‘deposited’ after I die, or rather, how to celebrate death beautifully. So far it has involved interviewing people about
death and conversations with my lawyers about the legality of burning my body in a volcano (the answer is that the law isn’t really clear, but what the law says and what you do are two different things).
I have also listened to plenty of the country singer Gram Parsons’s music. Gram wanted his body to be burned in the desert after he died, but when the time came his family wanted a conventional funeral, so his manager Phil Kaufman dressed as a mortuary worker and stole the body from the hospital and drove out to Joshua Tree to burn it.