Mourning Sites

Performing ineffable spaces of ruin 

Spatial designer Emily O’Hara has an interdisciplinary practice fluctuating between performance-with-installation, object making, photography and moving image.

The liquid volume of my body, 2016

Her PhD titled Mourning Sites ________ ; Performing Ineffable Spaces of Ruin extended on her explorations of spatio-temporal conditions that arise in processes of mourning, relating experiences of death and mourning to language and its other; silence or ineffability.

Moon Index, 2019 (Photo by Sam Hartnett)

Moon index, 2019 (Photo by Sam Hartnett), detail

Moon index, 2019 (Photo by Sam Hartnett) (detail)

O’Hara has a keen focus on temporality and extended duration and makes work that relates to the everyday, particularly to the rhythms and repetitions of life and death. She is interested in ideas of the feminine, the maternal and how regular everyday registers (such as the moon, bodies of water, rocks, salt, fog and fire) can offer a space through which to think about intergenerational and inter-spatial connection.

There’s something you’re not telling me, 2016 Salt Circle

There’s something you’re not telling me, 2016 Salt Circle, detail

Centre for Design Research
Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa
School of Art and Design

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau,
Auckland University of Technology


Susan Hedges
Mandy Smith

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© Centre for Design Research, AUT University 2021