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. Much like the recent phenomena of the Death Cafe movement founded in 2010 by late Jon Underwood after he observed a profound need to talk about dying process, 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
Feb 2017 GLASSHOUSE Residency, in collaboration with Marente van der Valk, New York City, USA
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)
*I am currently developing an online Last Supper Archive, if you want to know more please get in touch or keep an eye out for lastsupperarchive.com