In 1985, Italian artist Alberto Burri commenced work on the massive Grande Cretto, a poured concrete sculpture memorializing the central Sicilian mountain town of Gibellina, which had been destroyed by a massive earthquake during the 1960s. The project was finally completed in 2015. The layout of the Grande Cretto mimics (and is built directly over) … Read moreMemorial Land Art: Alberto Burri’s “Grande Cretto”
You can learn more about Designboom’s international Design for Death competition here.
Tara Isabella Burton’s 2018 article for Vox examines the development of funeral and memorial practices in the secular sphere: Zuckerman posits that among the people he’s interviewed for his book research, the desire to have a secular funeral isn’t just about not wanting to affirm the existence of a God or an afterlife that the … Read more“What Does Dying — and Mourning — Look Like in a Secular Age?”
Currently exhibiting at the Cube Design Museum in Kerkrade, Holland, (Re)design Death showcases fifty cutting-edge designs on the themes of Preparation, Saying Goodbye, Mourning and Living On and Eternal Life.
I will be hosting this live Zoom presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonder from Home program on the evening of July 10th (US time), concerning the antique “ghost show” I inherited from my father: The Iowa-based Ghost Factory company manufactured and sold all manner of “spookology” effects during the early/mid-20th century. Some of their customers … Read moreUnboxing an Antique Ghost Show (July 10, 2020)
In this clip from Pixar’s modern classic Coco (2017), young Miguel – having been magically and accidentally transported from a crypt in his home-town’s cemetery during el Dia de Muertos – crosses a cempasúchitl bridge between the worlds and first encounters the Land of the Dead. The filmmakers’ visualization of a towering, glowing necropolis in … Read moreThe Land of the Dead in Coco (2017)
Here’s a short CBS presentation on the revival of gardening in “cradle graves” at The Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia. Established during the mid-19th century, The Woodlands was part of the rural cemetery trend, in which landscaped, tree-lined graveyards established on the edges of cities provided welcome respite from urban noise and pollution. Rural cemeteries became … Read moreGrave Gardening at the Woodlands Cemetery
Founded and edited by John Wadsworth, Art of Dying Magazine offers a wide range of feature articles by and about people who are working creatively with death. Within the three issues published to date, features have ranged from an opinion piece on the state of the American funeral industry by Order of the Good Death … Read moreArt of Dying Magazine
Leslie Ann Epperson’s 2015 documentary (trailer above) examines the history, personalities, logistics and guiding ethos of Tucson’s acclaimed All Souls Procession. This secular and notably artistic remembrance of death and celebration of life dates back to the year 1990 and has grown from strength to strength – a recent count estimated well over 150,000 participants … Read more“Many Bones, One Heart” – a Documentary on Tucson’s All Souls Procession
VICE reporter Yuka Uchida investigates the practice of “Well Dying” or “Near Death” simulations in South Korea, wherein participants experience a ritual “death” – including the writing of final letters to loved ones and a symbolic burial – in order to gain perspective on their lives.