burial of the last queen of denmark

FIGUREHEADS continue to hold symbolic power even after death in ‘The Burial of the Last Queen of Denmark’. A ritualised national event is retold as a future endpoint, played out in a water-driven mechanical theatre housed in a bog oak sarcophagus. Inside, a funeral procession of the late and final monarch is staged against the architectural backdrop of the city of Roskilde’s flooded cathedral.

At their death Danish monarchs have for centuries passed through Roskilde’s cathedral square before being laid to rest in the city’s cathedral. The piece evokes the tradition of passion plays in the Middle Ages, in which the drama was played out on several simultaneous stages, involved the populations of entire towns, and temporarily transformed both time and space.

Here, the future event is projected as an assemblage of remembered rituals, in which the queen’s body is dismembered and enshrined in building-sized reliquaries. ‘The Burial of the Last Queen of Denmark’ retells the last and final manifestation of a tradition that transforms Roskilde’s cathedral square into a grand departure portal and set piece in the construction of Denmark’s national identity.