It Takes Energy to Die is an essay by Kirsty Bell on Help the Dead by Every Ocean Hughes. Part concert, part theatre, Help the Dead draws inspiration from a series of workshops the artist attended, where Ocean Hughes was learning how to be a death doula, to care for dead bodies and to perform home funerals. Weaving together song, script, movement, and audience participation, performers Colin Self and Geo Wyeth stage possibilities of mutual aid and self-determination.
Every Ocean Hughes’ (formerly known as Emily Roysdon; b. 1977, Easton, MD; lives and works between Easton and Stockholm) current series of works are connected by the artist’s interest in transitions, thresholds, kinship, legacy, and queer life.
Help the Dead was commissioned by Volt and premiered in Bergen in 2019. It has later been shown at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2019), Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2022) and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC (2023).