Pneuma Lamentare

Andreea Vladut / Christa Wall

/ audio-visual performance / 16 min / 2020

https://soundcloud.com/andreea_vladut/pneuma-lamentare-1


Pneuma Lamentare is a performative approach of the biography of Andreea Vladut’s grandmother (Evoneta Babarelu) as a professional mourner and the role of women as moirologists in different social and political contexts through history.

The work unveils the patriarchal social codes of mourning and proposes an empowering feminist appropriation of the mourning ritual.

Mourning is deeply rooted in the funeral ritual and it follows certain rules, but at its core it is a spontaneous expression of pain.



The Biography of a professional mourner
sound - video installation / 2019
/ TV box / 107 x 50 x 50 cm /
/ book / 63 x 21 cm

The profession of mourning, weiling, groaning, sobbing is an almost forgotten procession. It is an ancient tradition, originated from China and Middle East, practices extended in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome. Nowadays it is an nearly lost tradition, still practiced in some parts of the world. In patriarchal cultures, the laments are performed by women, so called moirologists, because they tend to deliver an eulogy and to comfort the family of the deceased. The act assumes showing vulnerability, which was not acceptable for a man to reveal emotions. As the leaders of the family men are supposed to be strong. But for women the act was a way of verbalisation of the pain itself and of their own sufferings. Mourning is deeply rooted in the funeral ritual and it follows certain rules, but at its core it is a spontaneous expression of pain.

The main character of the biography of a professional mourner is my grandmother, known in the villages she lived in and appreciated for the flame in her voice while performing the act of mourning.

Evoneta Babarelu reckoned this profession beyond tradition and more as an act of grieving for her sorrow during a war and a totalitarian regime. She learnt the whole lamentation ritual from her mother, also a practicant of this profession.








︎


Description

The profession of mourning, weiling, groaning, sobbing is an almost forgotten procession. Nowadays it is a nearly lost tradition originated from China and the Middle East. The practice extended in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, a tradition that lasted for centuries and can still be found in some parts of the world. Mostly performed by women, so called moirologists, because they tend to deliver a eulogy and to comfort the family of the deceased. The act assumes showing vulnerability, which was not acceptable for a man to reveal emotions. As the leaders of the family men are supposed to be strong. But for women the act was a way of verbalisation of the pain itself and of their own sufferings. Mourning is deeply rooted in the funeral ritual and it follows certain rules, but at its core it is a spontaneous expression of pain.




Mark