Title: Capturing the Last Moments
Other Titles: Recording the Dying Body at the Turn of the 21st Century
Authors: Masschelein, Anneleen # ×
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Leuven: Instituut voor Culturele Studies
Series Title: Image and Narrative vol:14 issue:3 pages:122-140
Abstract: In the present article I examine Sophie Calle’s video installation Pas pu saisir la mort (2007) from
various perspectives. This work functions independently, but it also circulates within different networks
in Calle’s work, most importantly the large exhibition Rachel, Monique (2010) and the trilogy on
suffering, along with Douleur exquise (2003-2004) and Prenez soin de vous (2007). Within Calle’s
oeuvre as a whole, it belatedly highlights and redefines themes and concerns present from the very
beginning of the work. By suspending the moment of Monique Sindler’s death and keeping it present in
the video installation, the mother’s body becomes an object that can be used at will. At the same time,
Calle uses this ambivalent, zombie-like object as the basis to reconstruct and animate her mother as a
character. Pas pu saisir la mort can be regarded as a commentary on theories of photography that link
photography with death and on recent explorations of the relationship between stillness and the moving
image (film). The work also fits within a long tradition of artworks dealing with death and dying. Finally,
Calle’s artistic project also reveals wider cultural changes in the way in which societies deal with dying
and the role of technology in that process.
ISSN: 1780-678X
VABB publication type: VABB-1
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Literary Theory and Cultural Studies, Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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