Invented by the Surrealists in the 1920s, the Exquisite Corpse is a parlour game that brings together the disparate contributions of participants to create a collective portrait artwork. For this discussion on the end of life process, we invite three participants—a professional organizer, a hospice nurse, and a grief counselor—to share their work as it relates to the life and death of people. What is the relationship between possessions and a fear of death? How does one work toward a “good death?” What are new forms to handle grief? Through a narrative portrait of one woman’s journey through death and dying, each panelist will discuss how their work fits into the process.
As a professional organizer, Carla Denker will discuss how she deals with layers of history from ordinary objects to family heirlooms. How does one manage memory through material possessions?
Hospice and palliative care nurse Tim Tattu describes the dynamics of complex decisions in the face of death—medical procedures and the acceptance of, or resistance to, hospice.
Ann Faison, who has written about unexpected loss, will describe grief counseling language, burial movements, and the power of ceremony in the healing process.
Carla Denker is the CEO of Space Works Organizing, helping clients simplify, purge, seek clarity and control of their environment with an emphasis on improving their home and reducing fears of what the future may bring. Carla received her bachelor of fine arts from Otis Art Institute, after which she ran her retail shop, Plastica for 21 years. When her father died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, two months after being diagnosed, it had a huge impact. Being present throughout the process of his dying opened her eyes to many questions about the way we experience death in American culture today. Despite enduring the terribly sad loss of her father, Carla found strange poetic beauty in her Dad’s passing. She is interested in the vast questions surrounding death and opening discussions about the process.
Tim Tattu grew up in Hermosa Beach, CA. In 1988, Tim graduated from Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree. After graduating, he worked as a set decorator, art director and production designer on hip hop, R & B, and rock videos. In 1996 Tim started sitting zen meditation under the guidance of Shodo Harada Roshi, Abbot of Sogenji Monastery in Okayama, Japan, and lived there for two years. In 2002, Tim moved to Whidbey Island in Washington State to live at Tahoma Zen Monastery and helped start a home dedicated to end of life care. At Enso House, Tim found he had a natural ability to care for dying patients and continued his interest in caring for others by returning to school to receive a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from University of Washington. In 2008, Tim returned to Los Angeles and worked seven years as a RN at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on an oncology/hematology unit. Tim currently works for Skirball Hospice as a Hospice RN.
Ann Faison received her MFA from CalArts in 1993. She has exhibited her work in galleries and museums across the country and in Europe. She teaches art to children at the Armory Center for the Arts and is a freelance writer and editor. Her first book, Dancing with the Midwives: A Memoir of Art and Grief, explores the intense physical grief following a still birth through a combination of writing and drawing. Her second book, Shatterproof Glass, is a YA novel set in 1970’s New York about a girl who discovers punk rock after her mother dies. In addition to her work as an artist, teacher and writer, Ann is a certified grief counselor, helping individuals and groups navigate the grieving process.
Asuka Hisa is ICA LA’s Director of Learning and Engagement.