Photo: @theomcinnes – Huck Magazine
A performative dinner to explore death and mortality in life
Last Supper is a group performative dinner that offers the opportunity to talk about the role of death and mortality in our lives. A maximum of 12 participants are invited each night to bring a dish they would want to share as their ‘Last Supper’ and to join in a collective conversation. Last Supper intends to facilitate conversation around death and our own mortality with each participant’s contributions as their starting point.
The Last Supper was conceptualised following the chosen death of Emma’s mother in 2015, before which Emma and her sister prepared her final meal: home-made lasagne and organic apple cider – just how she liked it. There is a long trajectory of traditions and rituals in relation to food and death, with last suppers being a common trope for those with a scheduled death as a way of saying goodbye to their next of kin. Despite that Emma’s mother was unable to enjoy the food in the way she once had, the occasion provided a space to celebrate her life in the knowledge that it would be over the following day.
Consequently, the Last Supper dinners have proved to be engaging and open performative experiences in which a group of strangers come together and find common ground to discuss and reflect on life and death. Through this project, Berentsen aims to lighten this dark, unspeakable cloud and she has found that Last Supper has not only contributed to the current discourse on death, but has provided a place for people to talk about this inevitable, painful yet cathartic life phenomenon.
Previous and Upcoming Last Supper Dates
May 2016 Denkstof, Arnhem, The Netherlands
July 2016 ‘Living in Chronic Times’, Chisenhale Studios, London
August 2016 Emma’s Garden, New Cross, London
January 2017 Pop-up Kerk, Arnhem, the Netherlands
Sept 2017 – Customized LAST SUPPER for MAAStd – Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Written about the Last Supper
Huck Magazine, Alex King (2016)
Dutch Culture, Wouter Aalberts (2017)
Platform, Emma Berentsen (2018)
Het Parool , Noor Langendijk (2019)
*I am currently developing an online Last Supper Archive, on the 29th of March 2019 I launched the first version: Last Supper Archive