Picture a gently glowing city of the dead suspended beneath the Manhattan Bridge … It’s a bold and beautiful vision, conjured by Columbia University’s DeathLab project which aims to find creative solutions to a very practical problem. Traditional cemeteries are running out of space; what will we do with our dead?
A short 2014 documentary on the history of (and modern practice of creative memorial at) London’s once-forgotten Cross Bones Graveyard. Since the time this video was produced, there have been considerable developments in connection with Cross Bones. Check out the Friends of Cross Bones website for much, much more on this poignant and inspiring story.
The song that says it all … Here are the lyrics, in case you want to sing along: When I dieI don’t want to rest in peaceI want to dance in joyI want to dance in the graveyards, the graveyardsAnd while I’m aliveI don’t want to be aloneMourning the ones who came beforeI want to … Read moreDance in the Graveyards by Delta Rae
This 2018 article from the Atlas Obscura recalls the bygone age when American cemeteries served as public parks as part of the rural cemetery movement. Echoing the Mexican Dia de Muertos tradition, the cemetery picnic fad continued into the 1920s, when cemetery managers began to ban the practice over concerns about boisterous behavior and littering. … Read moreRemembering When Americans Picnicked in Cemeteries
Here’s writer/performer Tracey Erin Smith’s podcast memoir of her death-positive production Memento Mori, which was staged for the 2014 Toronto Fringe Festival.
In collaboration with the good people at Reimagine’s Life, Loss and Love Festival, I will be giving an illustrated Zoom presentation on this theme on the evening of May 6th. Here’s the presentation description: “Remember death and therefore seize the day!” It’s an ancient and profoundly simple philosophy, but how can members of the emerging … Read more“Creating Countercultural Memento Mori”
Designer Kursat Ozenc has produced a series of articles on the newly-defined creative field of ritual design: Part 1: Introducing Ritual Design: meaning, purpose, and behavior change Part 2: How do you design a ritual? The article series continues on Medium.com and Ozenc’s work is also showcased at the Ritual Design Lab website.
“On a deeper level, death is a rich metaphysical stew combining elements of philosophy, psychology, religion, anthropology, and sociology; its close relationship with theories about the afterlife makes the subject yet more intriguing.” Click here to read Dr. Lawrence R. Samuel’s short but insightful article on the past, present and near-future challenges of mortality in a … Read moreDeath, American Style
By Tony Wolf My background is in the entertainment industry as a choreographer and sometime-director, with an extracurricular “minor” in ritual. I’ve always been interested in the intersection of creativity, history and psychology, and in the ways those disciplines play out in public celebrations. I was also deeply dissatisfied with the mainstream modern, Western approaches … Read moreThe New Danse Macabre: How and Why I Created a Death-Positive Performance for a 1998 Arts Festival
Dr. Jane Wildgoose’s London memory library/wunderkammer has been described as (…) a place where the heart remembers; where tender connections are made with forgotten feelings; and where the emotive power of the lost rituals of death is explored and interpreted by Jane’s sensitivity and unerring eye for the compelling.’ – Roger Bowdler, ‘World of Interiors’ … Read moreInside the Wildgoose Memorial Library