Living Will
Jan 22
Jan 31 2021

Everybody is going to die.

While the how may be different, the what is inevitable, and the when is unknowable. What remains unique to every experience of death is what we do before, especially when confronted with the reality that the next time you see someone, may be the last time you see them.

‘Living Will’ places the future death of loved ones at the forefront of our consciousness. It reminds us that despite death’s inevitability, we can take action to make the time that remains meaningful and prepare for the grieving process.

The installation consists of a dark room with black walls, floor and ceiling. On the surfaces various testimonials are written. These stories recount what people did with their loved-ones once their impending death was brought to the forefront of consciousness (for example after a health diagnosis.) No direct mention of the illness or death is made, but rather the stories of what they did with the time they had left together is recounted: We went to Algonquin Park for a weekend of camping, and while we couldn’t go on hikes like we used to, we still enjoyed the tranquility of nature.

Each of these stories is written in a different size and with different inks/paint (white, clear, greys, black-light-sensitive, glow-in-the-dark etc…) The room is lit by a series of hanging bulbs on a programmed timer that slowly dim and brighten them to reveal and conceal these stories. As visitors read the stories, they connect the dots, only to be confronted with the final question: Someone you love is going to die. What are you going to do about it?

This installation is about everything that can happen before death, but specifically when death is no longer an abstract idea, but an approaching reality.

Over the past two years, the ‘Dying.’ series has attracted over 5000 attendees, 26 speakers, including 4 opening and keynote speakers in the disciplines of design and healthcare, and 29 exhibiting artists and designers. In its third year, ‘Dying.’ will continue to offer an opportunity to creatively engage in conversation about fragility, death, dying, loss, grief through the lens of art and design.

During DesignTO there will be four events under the ‘Dying.’ series. ‘Dying.’ is a collaboration between the Health Design Studio at OCADU and Taboo Health.


Arnaud Marthouret, Rob Shostak


Living Will


Who should visitors contact with questions regarding accessibility?
Critical Distance Centre for Curators
Is this venue accessible by wheelchair or similar mobility devices? This includes access to washrooms and all aspects of programming/events.
Living Will
©2020 Arnaud Marthouret / Rob Shostak
Living Will
©2020 Arnaud Marthouret / Rob Shostak
Living Will
©2020 Arnaud Marthouret / Rob Shostak