With every edition of the Dutch Dictionary new words are added, however some words are erased; those which are considered extinct. Out of concern about the understanding of the concepts that lost words describe, these words were tracked down. After getting informed on the criteria of lexicographers the effort to reanimate a single word—doodsreutel (death rattle)—began. A word indeed describing death, while it itself had ceased to exist. By consistently publishing this word in the public domain the chance grows for it to return to the dictionary. This objective started by placing an obituary advertisement for the lost word in a Dutch national newspaper in 2017. Other articles and obituaries have since followed, many in collaboration with other Dutch writers, journalists and poets. The effort 
continued untill spring 2022, when the 16th edition of the Dutch Dictionary was published, in which doodsreutel was included once again. 

Performative act. Ongoing (obituary) advertisements in Dutch national newspapers, magazines and journals.

Many thanks to: Jamal Ouariachi, Maartje Wortel, Sven en Gerliene Schlijper-Karssenberg, Babs Bakels, A.F.Th. van der Heijden, Rebekka de Wit, Isabel Harlaar, Luuk Heezen, Pieke Werner, Joep van Ruiten, Kees Keijer, Sander Becker, Jan Postma, Dean Bowen, Frank Meurs, Zoe Spaaij, Xandra Nibbeling, Floor van Luijk and Oscar Santillán for contributing in the reanimation of ‘doodsreutel’.

Images: obituary advertisements and other publications of ‘doodsreutel’ including novels, news papers, magazines, and a collection of poetry.

Last two images: exhibition view at TENT Rotterdam, where all publications that mentioned ‘doodsreutel’ within the duration of the exhibition ‘Wat ik je nog wilde zeggen’ were displayed. This exhibition was curated by Rianne Zijderveld and Dean Bowen.

©2024 Vibeke Mascini. All rights reserved.