The Imaginary Funeral
It might’ve been more thematically appropriate for Halloween season, but next Thursday, Midway Studios will be hosting a panel on death and funeral art for the morbidly inclined among us. Entitled The Imaginary Funeral: Image, Artifact, and the Work of Mourning, the panel is presented by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and the Neubauer Collegium. The workshop will focus on the various artistic projects and rituals that humans have historically and currently performed in accompaniment with the deaths and funerals of our fellows. That means death masks, mummification, cadaver stuffing—you name it, they’re going to talk about it.
Panelists will include professors from several related fields, including history of medicine, art history, and anthropology. But readers need not have any background or interest in these fields to attend. All you need is a healthy dose of necrophilia...that came out wrong.
Thursday, January 22, Midway Studios 108, 5–8 p.m., free
Oriental Institute Film Screenings
This weekend, the Oriental Institute will inaugurate a series of monthly film screenings that will run through June (with the exception of February). On Sunday afternoon, there will be a showing of a 57-minute documentary film, Breaking Ground: The Story of the Oriental Institute, produced by Chicago Public Television’s WTTW. The film discusses the origins and subsequent development of the Oriental Institute, and includes information on the Institute’s digs at various sites in the Middle East. The Oriental Institute established the Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt.
Founded in 1924, Chicago House performs the Epigraphic Survey, a project that documents, investigates, and conserves monuments from the ancient city of Thebes.
These monthly film screenings cover a wide range of topics pertaining to the Middle East, from the development of the written word in ancient civilizations (Sign, Symbol and Script: Origins of Written Communication and the Birth of the Alphabet to be screened in March) to Saddam Hussein’s policy of displacement and resettlement of the Marsh Arabs (Braving Iraq to be screened in June).
Sunday, January 18, Oriental Institute, Breasted Hall, 2 p.m., free
Chinese Undergraduate Student Association Show
It’s winter quarter, and that can only mean one thing: It’s cultural festival season. From the South Asian Students Association (SASA) show to the African Caribbean Students Association (ACSA) show, winter and spring quarters are chock full of student organizations showing off their unique cultural identities and traditions. The Chinese Undergraduate Student Association (CUSA) show kicks things off this weekend with a mix of traditional Chinese songs, dances, and martial arts.
The show is based off of the famous early–20th century Chinese play Lady Precious Stream, which follows the titular daughter of the prime minister as her family looks for someone for her to marry. Although she is expected to marry a wealthy Chinese nobleman, Precious instead finds herself in love with the family’s poor gardener. As Precious and her lover navigate the disapproval of her parents and the challenges of their socioeconomic class, the traditional performances are incorporated into the play’s scenes.
Before the show, all ticket holders are also treated to a catered Chinese meal from the Chinatown restaurant Northern City.
Saturday, January 17, Mandel Hall, 6–10 p.m., $10 in advance, $12 at the door