Arrivals + Departures invites the public to engage deeply with the themes of birth, life and death. Taking the recognisable form of two station or airport arrivals and departures boards, the artwork invites visitors to the analogue boards, and those engaging online, to share the names of people who have arrived and departed as a way to celebrate a birth or commemorate a death. As the effects of Covid-19, racial injustice and the environmental crisis continue to disrupt communities across the world, this artwork offers a timely platform to engage with birth, life, death, loss and collective grief, through the deeply personal and radical act of naming.
By recording birth and death, the work marks the ebb and flow of life: moments of entry into life, or an exit, the balance between them, and the power of naming. Accompanying the boards is an integral programme of events, talks and workshops that explore a range of issues associated with commemorating new life, honouring the living, acknowledging our own mortality, bringing attention to death, and tending to grief and loss, subjects that need to be spoken about more to help us live well.
In the context of Covid-19 and social distancing rules, we are dramatically changing how we will connect and interact with our audience for the accompanying public programme. We are planning to collaborate and connect with a variety of experts and people from across communities including celebrants, midwives, ministers and florists, to opera singers, choirs, pregnant people and care-home workers and residents, in a Covid safe way.
A year-long tour of Arrivals + Departures in London, Brighton, Norfolk, Milton Keynes and Hull had been planned to start from April 2020 but was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. In September 2020 the project opens at Somerset House, London and we plan to tour the UK in 2021 and onwards. We are now creating a new, bold yet playful national touring public programme that offers a counterbalance to the relationship we have with digital media, giving us a chance to collectively ponder bigger questions and offering moments of connection.
You can now make a contribution of a name to the boards directly now to display on this website, or on the Arrivals + Departures boards themselves once the public artwork goes live at each location. A steward will be available at specific times (see PROGRAMME) to support your submission if needed.