November 12, 2016

Turning corpses into light

The Future of Death Could Be a Shiny Cemetery Beneath the Manhattan Bridge

Imagine the Manhattan Bridge twinkling from underneath with hundreds of small pods filled with decaying biomass – the final resting place of many former New Yorkers, shining like stars in an otherwise dark sky.

 Constellation Park Light Pods

There, you might lay flowers near a pod containing the remains of a loved one, until decomposition finishes its course and all that remains is a container to keep as a remembrance.

This is the vision that is Constellation Park, a shiny new cemetery proposed by DeathLab, a trans-disciplinary research and design space at Columbia University. For the past five years, DeathLab has been focused—during an era of global warming, overcrowding and leave-no-trace environmentalism—on solving the problem of last rites in New York, where an average of 144 bodies stack up per day.

That, in turn, totals around half a million plots per decade, consuming nearly all of the ground left in the dozens of cemeteries and polluting the air with cremation smog in the New York metropolitan area.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  (Hebrews 12:1)

Posted by Jill Fallon at November 12, 2016 10:53 AM | Permalink