Waters of Oblivion

November 11 – November 14, 2021

In Chinese folklore, the Lady of Forgetfulness, Meng Po, feeds the souls of the deceased a soup to help them forget their previous lives before reincarnating into their next.

Meng Po serves as a gateway to ruminate over what ties us to the past, present, and future. Her role as the gatekeeper of memories and reincarnation reminds us that life does not dematerialize, but instead, always transitions and transforms. This event asks participants to reconsider the nature of memory and loss in their own lives, stirring in cultural anecdotes, neuroscience, and interviews with loved ones. How do we hold space to communally recount and remember significant moments in our lives, and how does it alter all of us to do so?

During this time of seismic loss, when many traditional grieving rituals - communal gatherings, vigils, and funerals - have been unable to proceed as usual, this piece draws inspiration from ancestral rites, online platforms and communities, as well as research on catharsis, in order to reimagine and play with new rituals for the moment. Conceived as a multi-platform experience, ‘Waters of Oblivion’ is an in-person and virtual hybrid experiential piece that wades deep into the underworld to observe what collectively emerges and what can be left behind.

Conceived and Directed by Cinthia Chen
Created by: Kayla Asbell, Tina Hanaé Miller, Monica Sanborn, Elizabeth Sun, and Maya Simone Z.