Oh Death, Oh Death

Duration: 35 minutes
April 3rd, 2014
Piano Craft Guild Gallery

Ballads begin and I enter to 32 slip cast canning jars sitting in the form of an altar. Each jar holds a couple handfuls of blackberries: seven pounds in total. My hands move quickly at first. I grab a jar to pull out the berries, shoving them in my mouth and smashing them over my lips until the juice flows and the stain spreads. The empty jar is then thrown against the ground, shattering around me, moving across my skin.

After a few jars my momentum slows. Pleasure begins to turn to pain; a ritual becomes a burden. I painfully continue onward, the gravity of the task becomes distressing until I reach the last jar. I stomp on it, never touching the jar with my stained hands or ingesting its hidden contents. There’s a release, defiance.

Then the cleansing begins. I shed my clothing: my jeans, my flannel, and my grandfather’s hat. I stand in white, and then I wash myself. The milk and honey flow over my marked and soiled skin until I’m clean. Cleansed of my actions. Cleansed of my sins. Cleansed for reverence. And so I kneel. And I breathe. And I look upon what remains.

Conversation with Death

“Oh Death, oh Death please give me time, To fix my heart and change my mind.”
-Berzilla Wallin