New Philosopher

Dead and alive

Zan Boag: Death is a topic you have certainly focused on over the past eight years in your ‘Dead and Alive’ documentary project about death rituals and how people relate to death around the world. What prompted you to start the project?

: There was a series of events, you could say. First of all, as a kid I was always so afraid of death. I came home from my grandparents one day, I was six or seven years old, and I realised that they were going to die, that they were not going to be here forever, and I was crying for days because suddenly I understood that this was not forever. Another was my own fear of death – since I can remember I was really afraid of dying, and it was so bad that I couldn’t sleep. Sleeping was similar to what it would be like to be dead, so I was really afraid of sleeping, and that followed me for many years. Another event was that I was documenting an event, a Muslim funeral ceremony. The Muslim ceremonies are a public event so everyone is welcome. It was in a mosque in my own neighbourhood here in Copenhagen and thousands of people were coming in

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