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Saint Luke: Cassidy Toner – «Possum»

  • Saint Luke 33 Dienerstrasse Zürich, ZH, 8004 Switzerland (map)

Thanatosis, colloquially known as faked-death or ‘playing possum,’ is when an animal takes on the appearance of being dead. There’s also a long history of people faking their deaths to avoid legal or financial troubles. Some people just desire to start a new life, free from the burdens of their former one. Still, others use it as a way to symbolically kill their former self, much like Harold in the movie, Harold and Maude.

In the final scene Harold’s car is seen going off a seaside cliff, but after the crash the camera pans up and reveals Harold calmly standing atop the precipice. After gazing down at the wreckage, he dances away, playing Cat Stevens’ song, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.”

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see, ah ah ah
It's easy, ah ah ah
You only need to know

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Saint Luke is an exhibition space in Zurich initiated by the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in 2019. Art & Media students Milena Langer and Samuel Haitz invite contemporary artists to show their work in the space at Dienerstrasse 33 next to Club Zukunft and Bar3000 in Zurich. More information about Saint Luke and its program is available on www.saintluke.ch.

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Image: Harold and Maude. Directed by Hal Ashdy, Paramount Pictures, 1971