Mortality Motivation


 An exploration on understanding Death throughout our history as a species through reflection and iconographic symbolism. Using the thoughts and symbols of Death in the past and present, we can use our eventual end as a motivator to live.













Memento Mori

Memento Mori, a latin phrase that translates to “Remember that you must die” was a phrase that guided this project. The phrase not only serves us to remind us of our mortality, but to reinvigorate it with meaning; to live each day as if it is our last. To disregard the fear of failure and regret one has and aspire to reach their dreams, using death as a motivator.










Reflection of the Soul

As part of the display, viewers are encouraged to respond to the prompts on the table; remembering how they woul like to be remembered after death and how they could live for the day.

As response were written on the surface, I thought how each person was leaving a part of them behind on the table. Leaving behind their love, ambitions, goals, and thoughts on their place in the world. Everyone was wanting to live for others and improving who they are as a person.















Symbols of Death

Throughout our history as a species, we’ve created iconography and symbols to cope with death. These symbols help us understand what death is and how to cope with it. They can manifest themselves in the form of animals or even inanimate objects. Each of the cards on display is a unique symbol of death, deriving from a unique point in our history ad culture as humans












Tarot Cards - Hidden Symbolism

Among these cards are symbols both old and new, representing death and rebirth. They tell the stories of our ancestors, their views on death, and how they coped with it. If you’re wanting to learn a brief meaning behind the cards, feel free to download an informational sheet.

Download Symbols of Death ︎


















Putting it into Practice

Rather than viewers walking away from their response on the table, why not take those thoughts with them? Having a card to take with them with their old or new responses will help my viewers to practice Memento Mori. A little note to remind them what to live for.





















Memento Vivere - Remember to Live

While learning about this process of using Death as a motivator, how about applying it yourself? I implore you to download the prompt cards and use them as reminders for yourself. Put it in your car, keep it in your wallet, or take a photo with it and post it on social media using the hashtag #MortalityMotivation. I’d love to see the responses you have.

Download Mortality Motivation - Prompt Cards ︎











JACOB ACKERMAN