Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Design Research Incubator to present documentary on ecology of death

Pia Interlandi is one of the stars of "Death Down Under." Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Arts and Design Research Incubator at Penn State will host a screening of “Death Down Under,” an Australian documentary that takes an unflinching look at the ecology of death and how we care for the dead, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, in 16 Borland Building. The screening will be followed by a discussion with filmmaker Cynthia White, who worked on the documentary with director Kathy High.

Shot in western Australia, the documentary follows the collaboration of a young fashion designer/artist and funeral celebrant, Pia Interlandi, and a forensic scientist, Ian Dadour. They created an experimental research project that tested Pia’s fashion-for-the-dead, while Ian, an entomologist who studies human homicide, researched clothing decay. Pia and Ian amassed a team to wash, dress and bury 21 dead pigs on a kangaroo reserve where — over the following year — they examined the decay of the ritual burial garments. "Death Down Under" follows the entire process from gathering the slaughtered pigs to the results in the laboratory.

ADRI, part of the College of Arts and Architecture Research Office, provides support for high-impact arts and design research projects. All ADRI events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call 814-865-5126.

Last Updated October 28, 2015