The always-excellent Lapham’s Quarterly published this diagram in honor of Halloween (I know, I’m a little slow on the reblog here). It really shows the power that relics continue to hold over our imaginations—that small scrap of someone is the next best thing to being there, still.
This was inevitable: a Tumblr that collects funeral selfies. Because at all events, at all times, the only thing that is of any interest is…ME. Ouch.
It’s Tikker! A watch that counts down the minutes you have left on earth, a modern version of the memento mori timepiece. My only complaint: the thing is plug ugly. Who would want to look at it for the rest of his/her days/hours/seconds left in this mortal coil? Ugh. Still, Tikker has surpassed its Kickstarter goal of $25K nearly four times over, so clearly people are paying attention to their mortality. Go Team Death!
The Fallen is a site specific installation made up of nine thousand silhouettes hand-drawn in the sand on the Normandy beach in memory of the soldiers and civilians who died on D-Day: June 6, 1944. British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss (and 200 volunteers!) created the work over the weekend of September 21 to mark the International Day of Peace. The project was two years in the planning and the results, which were ultimately washed away by the tide, powerfully address the transience of life and the finality of death.
Parishioners at Rev. Robert H. Schuller’s nondenominational Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, were horrified to learn that the church, during its conversion to a Roman Catholic house of worship, is removing a walkway of 1800 paving stones installed in memory of the dead. There are no plans for reinstallation; the church has created a diocese-sponsored website with digital images of the stones instead. Is this an adequate substitute for the physical memorial stones? Here’s what one tearful mourner told the New York Times. “The thought of them being dug up just sends me into tears,” Ms. De Clercq said, crying as she spoke. “I don’t even know if I’m going to live through this. I’ve just been so devastated.”
“ If metal is immortal, then somewhere
there lies the burnished button I lost
upon my seventh birthday in a garden.
Find me that button and my soul will know
that every soul is saved and stored and treasured.
This Salon article explores the question: Is it a good idea to bring extinct species back to life? Or are they better left behind as memories? I side with Arthur Jensen in Network: ”You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it!” Best to leave the dead buried.
I spent yesterday with a friend who was unfamiliar with GhostBikes, so when I happened to pass this one in memory of Mathieu Lefevre, I snapped a photo to send her. Mathieu died in October of 2011 when he was struck by a flatbed truck on Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn. The driver didn’t stop, claiming he was unaware he’d hit anyone. Mathieu’s death received a great deal of press attention after the NYPD decided not to file charges against the truck driver. These street memorials always stop me in my tracks when I encounter them, and I spend a careful moment studying the items placed on and around the bike. They all seem purposely chosen in this case, but I do wonder about the can of Pabst Blue Ribbon tucked just above the pedal near the street light base. Seems that placement could be either deliberate (a tribute to a favorite brew) or random (a pedestrian with a morbid sense of humor and an empty beer can to get rid of). I hope Mathieu’s parents get some better answers from the police, soon. Their son had about the kindest expression in his eyes I’ve ever seen.
For under $2000, Elysium Space will launch a portion of your (or your loved one’s) cremated ashes into the universe. First launch is summer 2014. Wave hello to Major Tom as you pass him in orbit.