Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Death in Mexico" Guest Post and Field Trip Deadline!

Following is a guest post by the lovely Ms. Laetitia Barbier, who has been quietly and brilliantly running Brooklyn's Morbid Anatomy as Head Librarian since March. When she heard about the upcoming Morbid Anatomy "Death in Mexico" field trip, she was so excited that she asked if she could write a guest post about a similar pilgrimage she took back in 2009. 

Our "Death in Mexico" field trip, which will take place October 31-November 4, will be led by Mexican writer and scholar Salvador Olguín and will include two Day of the Dead festivals; special tours of The Museo Nacional de la Muerte (National Museum of Death; top image); The Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum; 2nd and 3rd image), and The José Guadalupe Posada Museum. There will also be visits to the historical Hidalgo market in Guanajuato, the Zacatecas Cathedral, the Temple of the Jesuit Order.

If you are interested in joining us on what promises to be an amazing trip, you *must* register by this Saturday, July 20th; all questions can be directed to info [at] You can find complete information about the field trip by clicking here.

Following is Laetitia's guest post; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Celebrated as the “most surrealist country in the world” by poet Andre Breton during his 1938 journey, Mexico seems to have conserved its uniqueness and profound beauty despite the challenges of rough economic realities and the constant pressure of narcotraffic. Mexico revels in intense visual experience which, inevitably, peaks in delight and splendor around The Day of The Dead. During the weeks of preparation preceding this one night event, the all country revealed, through its legions of skeletons, an ambiguous relationship that Mexicans maintain with Death.

In 2009, I spent two month frolicking in Mexico, realizing a longtime personal dream: a solo journey to survey death and its myriad avatars, from the historical past of the country to its contemporary culture, surveying domains like criminology, religion, the arts, and even... wrestling. Once there, I soon realised that the very mexican obsession with death went far beyond the folklore of Dia de Los Muertos. Once the sugar skulls are gone, the mexican predilection for the Macabre is still palpable. In Mexico, Death is a permanent spectacle, reminding one of Mexico's storied relationship with death tracing back to the pre-hispanic gods, the Jesuit missionaries, the inquisition and the Revolucion. Both revered and feared, Death is a major fragment of the Mexican Identity.

When Joanna told me about her idea of having field trip in Mexico for the Day of the Dead, I was, of course, extremely excited. Its a wonderful thing to be able to visit this country when the all population are preparing their home for their beloved spirits to return; seeing the fragile skeletons of the Angelitos in Guanajuato was probably one of the most incredible experience I ever had.   
You can find out more about the upcoming Death in Mexico field trip by clicking here.
All images © Laetitia Barbier; Captions, top to bottom: 
  1. “Angelito” is the name given to stillborn babies. This one belong to the Museo National de la Muerte.
  2. Guanajuato Mummies
  3. Guanajuato Mummies
  4. A Santa Muerte Statue in its Church of Mexico City
  5. Ex Votos in antique store
  6. The Old Funeral Parlor of Guanajuato and its collection.

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