The Holocaust Memorial (Berlin, Germany)

I visited the Holocaust Memorial during a trip to Berlin in May of 2012. Unfortunately I did not have time to enter the underground museum/information centre, so this review is specific to the open-air installation, which is the most conceptually brilliant memorial I have ever seen, or, more accurately, “been part of”. The Memorial is … Read moreThe Holocaust Memorial (Berlin, Germany)

Spirit Parks: Symposium to Reimagine Cemetery 2020

Here’s Chicago architect Mark A. Miller’s compelling vision towards reinventing cemeteries to better match contemporary sensibilities: In the United States, the centuries old traditional model of cemetery is failing to resonate with current generations and changing ideals about death, grief and memorialization. People are looking beyond the rituals of traditional religions and the constructs of … Read moreSpirit Parks: Symposium to Reimagine Cemetery 2020

“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”

Click here to read Cinder Hypki, Rhonda S. Cooper and Louise Knight’s paper examining the use of ritual in grieving and healing processes: The powerful symbolic and metaphorical nature of ritual is a compelling “medium” unto itself for community artists and cultural workers. “Performance artists” and artist-activists often use elements of ritual to engage and … Read more“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”

Recompose, the First Human-Composting Funeral Home in the U.S., is Now Open for Business

Click here to read Brendan Kiley’s article for the Seattle Times: As I’ve learned more about Recompose, I’ve found it to be a very graceful and beautiful way to go,” Bontrager said. “It’s the natural way, the way every living thing in history has eventually been cared for, from an apple core to a human … Read moreRecompose, the First Human-Composting Funeral Home in the U.S., is Now Open for Business

Midwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

My Midwinter altar – I think “locus” is actually more apt in this context – is a literal illumination of the vanitas theme, a union of wunderkammer and kamidana (wunderkamidana?) It’s an assemblage of objects whose symbolic meanings are both amplified and made more subtle by their interrelationships. I try my clumsy best to make … Read moreMidwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

The Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery (Colma, CA)

Still a work in progress but nearing completion, the Memory Garden at the Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, California is designed as a ritual and memorial space for families mourning pre-natal loss. As described here, the Garden will feature: (…) a grassy green slope dotted with wide-set benches. Downhill would lead to a clearing, where … Read moreThe Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery (Colma, CA)

Quietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about eighteen years after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via … Read moreQuietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

The New Monuments That America Needs

Hua Su’s recent article for The New Yorker surveys the controversy surrounding public memorial statuary in the USA: That a monument seems to, in Farber’s words, “stop time,” helps explain why so many are eager to defend them from overzealous protesters. We’ve seen pictures of police flanking the Wall Street bull and armed civilians standing guard in front … Read moreThe New Monuments That America Needs

“Death by Design” Podcast

Kimberly C. Paul’s Death By Design podcast showcases interviews with deathcare specialists, artists, authors and others working in the end-of-life sphere: REMEMBER, YOU’RE THE DESIGNER. We must become the designer of our own destination. We must learn how to build the pathways to our last chapter by creating the blueprints that reflect our individual lives … Read more“Death by Design” Podcast