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Crying the Wrong Tears: Floral Tributes and Aesthetic Judgement



I am for the art of hearts, funeral hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat...... I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral flowers...... (Claes Oldenburg) Material practices concerning death and bereavement are changing. As Elizabeth Hallam and Jenny Hockey argue, what used to be ˜confined within cemetery walls'- the laying of wreaths and flowers - can be seen increasingly to ˜spill out into public space. Occasioned usually by 'bad' deaths, floral tributes and shrines form an ever more established element in the popular repertoire of emotional expressiveness around traumatic loss. Jack Santino suggests that the spontaneous shrine constitutes something of a global phenomenon: as images of disaster sites are beamed around the world so too are the practices of vernacular commemoration. Events mediated by global communications technologies such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the death of Princess Diana, the events of September 11th are seen then as responsible in part for the spread of the localised action of placing flowers at the scene of road traffic accidents, murders, drownings and other violent deaths.

Topics: Critical Theory and Cultural Studies
Year: 2007
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