I always get that hallowed sense with Boltanski's work. I also experienced that same shock of discovering Dead Swiss as with the Basilica encounter. It was juxtaposed against vibrant work in a lively bustling contemporary art gallery. The shock came on discovering the subject matter. These images of people young and old were no-longer here. These were images of names from obituary columns in Swiss newspapers. Although my instant reaction on learning this was to walk away, I was compelled to stay and find out who they were. Then questioned myself as to whether this was morbid like people who slow down on the motorway to stare at the victims of horrific road accidents.
I decided that like Boltanski, I was remembering them, even though I'd never met them. Because a person is no longer here that doesn't mean we shouldn't get to know them. We do that all the time with great writers or scientists. Why not with ordinary people. That's what he was saying. Then I felt it would be rude to walk away, almost disrespectful.