Moth (UK): In the Face of Death

Tuesday 10.9. – Sunday 15.9.

Kuopio city centre, various locations
Accessible Event

In the face of Death is about the creation of a graphic system of symbols, creating meaningful and applied visual language. The project uses four immortality narratives as a vehicle to establish systems; Elixir; staying alive, life extension stories. Resurrection; life, death and rebirth, science, faith and fiction. Soul; the non-material part of the body that is ‘the real me’, and Legacy; cultural, genetic and meme.


As memento mori images – they remind us to live life well – to contemplate our relationship with death and what happens to us when the one inevitable event we plan for the least comes to visit. Placed at eye height, planting a visual seed in the audience’s mind’s eye. To prompt dialogue and bring discussions of death and mortality to the surface.

The symbols are spread around the Kuopio city centre. Can you find them all?

Moth is a research group, which, through the discipline of Graphic Design, explores visual language associated with death and end-of-life experiences.

Moth was initiated after a conversation with a Norwegian student following
the massacre at Utoeya. The student reflected upon the lack of suitable visual symbols available that could be used to articulate universal sympathy in the context of death and bereavement. This conversation prompted inspiring questions about visual signifiers of mortality and, in effect, constituted a potential design brief. At the time, most of the social media messages posted in response to the massacre employed the heart symbol. The appropriation of this seemed inadequate and highlighted our inability to discuss death as freely as we discuss love. When confronted with grief and mourning, our understanding and our relationship with death, whilst intimate and complex, is visually mute. Can a visual symbol for death exist beyond the traditional conventions of the Christian cross, the morbidity of the skull or the accessibility of an angel?

MOTH Projects