Transcipt of video interview with Rankin
Photographer, Rankin, talks about the 'ALIVE: In the Face of Death' exhibition.
Rankin: Someone said to me at the beginning of the project; "You should think about death every day for 15 minutes, because you just get used to it." And I think that art is a really great way of making you think about it. There's a real tradition of it. What I've realised is that we actually need art to kind of help us discuss it, remember it, be reminded of it, to think about it. Whether it's visual art or whether it's written, art is a very good way of processing your thoughts. And making you laugh and making your cry.
What I was finding with my project initially was that we, in this country, have kind of hidden a lot of what goes on with death, behind doors. Hospital doors, mortuary doors, crematorium doors - so it's not as present in our lives. So we really need art probably more now than ever before.
I've thought a lot about the people who are going to come and look at the show, probably as much as the people that I was working with on it - taking photographs of. I kept thinking about it and there were a lot of crazy ideas that I came up with early on. I think the gallery thought I was mad. Because I didn't want it to be depressing, I didn't want people to come and kind of go; "Oh this is so sad and hard to deal with." So my balance was; there was some of my own approach to it that was supposed to be a bit lighter, there was some of me going "Oh I'm scared of it" and then I wanted to do something with my parents. I was also really interested in idea of Mexican 'Day of the Dead' and how they would have shrines to people that had passed away, to allow them to come back for the day to visit almost - but to remember them.
I'm worried about the people who are going to come into the show and the people who are in the show - and I don't mean the media, I mean the actual public. I hope they like it and I hope they get something from it. I don't know what it is they'll get from it. I guess I'm hoping: a way of being able to talk about it, an ability to just chat about it, to open those doors that we normally leave closed.