Kanazawa

Image: KIOKU Keizo

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

DEMOCRATIZING DEATH

Photo by KIOKU Keizo

Photo by KIOKU Keizo

Photo by KIOKU Keizo

Constellation Park

Constellation Park is a public memorial, embedded within the urban life of the metropolis.

CONSTELLATION PARK
WPA

A resilient infrastructure of short-term shrines dedicated to the production of energy.

WPA 2.0
Slyvan Park

A truly perpetual future for Arnos Vale Cemetery

SYLVAN CONSTELLATION
Student Work

A series of studios at Columbia GSAPP have engaged the urban, social, and cultural questions raised by DeathLAB’s research.

STUDENT WORK
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DeathLAB

WE ARE CHANGING HOW WE LIVE WITH DEATH IN THE CITY.

What we do with the remains of our dead reflects the character of the living—affecting both the environment and experience of the metropolis. At DeathLAB we design new models of mortuary infrastructure which embrace biologically sensible alternatives; we support innovative civic spatial constructions that are ecologically progressive; and we expand forms of intimate and social remembrance.

DeathLAB reimagines how we handle death, and, in turn, how we live.

As cities like New York continue to grow, the need for environmentally friendly funerary processes increases. DeathLAB is working on an alternative to cremation and earthen burial, and designing new public spaces of remembrance intertwined with everyday life.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

The growing population continues to stress the natural environment. Overcrowded cities are running out of limited cemetery space. Cremation releases harmful toxins into already polluted air. DeathLAB takes an trans-disciplinary approach to understand legal and policy implications, investigate lived urban realities, and assess viable environmentally- and socially-conscious alternatives to traditional mortuary solutions.

DeathLAB’s body of research includes speculative spatial propositions, data projections, scientific inquiry, and sustainability studies.

In order to broaden DeathLAB’s perspective and reach, we participate in events, exhibitions, and research around the world. This work exposes us to new situations and connects us to people interested in developing ecological approaches to living with death in the city.

See excerpts from our exhibition, DeathLAB: Democratizing Death, at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa below.

Based at Columbia University GSAPP, DeathLAB is a trans-disciplinary research and design initiative focused on reconceiving how we live with death in the city. DeathLAB brings dynamic minds together to engage with the complex challenges of our individual and collective mortality.

As the issues of diminishing available burial space, increasing pollution, and shifting cultural views become more apparent, DeathLAB's work is attracting attention from publications around the globe.

publication4

I'll end with my fav quote from the article by one of my fav people. Right on, my friend @TheGoodDeath. Lots of work for us to do. 8/8

New play 'Hart Island' is a meditation on mourning and humanconnection https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/hart-island-new-york-city-potters-field-play?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=shared_twitter via @gothamist

MacDowell Fellows donated 10 new works to the #JamesBaldwinLibrary in the last few months of 2021, each one supported by a MacDowell residency! The works all become part of the library's collection and benefit future artists-in-residence. https://www.instagram.com/p/CauWoF4rtZp/ #MadeAtMacDowell

excited to see that the state supports a serious study of repurposing miles of underutilized former freight lines to better connect communities in Brooklyn and Queens https://www.amny.com/transit/mta-to-study-interborough-express-on-old-freight-lines-from-brooklyn-to-queens/

Desmond Tutu requested alkaline hydrolysis — elevating the morality of environmental consciousness in death as in life, and signaling widespread readiness for continued change in the funerary industry. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/02/what-is-aquamation-burial-practice-desmond-tutu-requested-instead-greenhouse-gas-emitting-cremation/

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COLUMBIA GSAPP | DEATH LAB

 

20 Renwick Street, New York, NY 10013

P: 646.336.6950

E: deathlab@columbia.edu