Step into a Secret World: Key Notes on the Future Cemetery Project

A compendium of notes and thoughts on the project

Step into a Secret World.

This sign is on Arnos Vale's front gate and I couldn't agree more.

The number of ideas that just being inside Arnos Vale creates is amazing. This blog post is a listing of my favorite ideas so far.

And in no particular order.

1.) A morning-afternoon-night series of three different events that capture Arnos Vale during those times of day.

2.) A Mass Disaster Preparedness game set in Arnos Vale (could be a link with Hide and Seek) in which the participants determine what to save.

3.) The underground spaces in Arnos Vale should be used as much as possible.

4.) Repeat the same narrative element in different ways using different characters. One initial character was the 'Tour Guide.'

5.) Turn Arnos Vale Cemetery into a character. That way 'the character' can be everyone buried in it. I'm reminded of Johnny Cash here, "Hello, my name's Arnos Vale..." Or, I suppose, the Borg. Just a little bit. You will be assimilated. Maybe even some Hegelian geist!

6.) There's a past-present-future quality to the project. The past is the tour guide, the present is the app we create, and the future is the End of Life. That's one kind of spine for the project.

7.) From my Center for Death and Society colleague Tony Walter: Small Churchyard cemeteries could really benefit from what we develop. This might be one of the ways that the smaller cemeteries are able to preserve some of their history as the current volunteers are no longer able to do it.

8.) The narrative story we develop shapes the app. The app doesn't shape the story.

9.) We could do projections of Archival Documents onto the building exteriors.

10.) Develop a photo app that does Digital Grave Etchings of gravestones. Similar to the old paper based etchings. 

11.) Projecting visitor responses to questions about funeral planning onto a screen while inside the cemetery and answering, for example, "What song do you want played at your funeral?"

12.) Include the Thecodontosaurus dinosaur(!) in the project. Its bones were found in Arnos Vale. We could create the Arnosaurus for the project. Using paleontology in this way gives a long geological view of time.

13.) My final point and a big one: What if a person doesn't have a smart phone or a device that could work for what we're planning? How do they participate? I don't own a smart phone or a tablet of any kind (mostly because I'm cheap) but I would really want to participate in this event. I keep thinking about this issue.

I'll post updates on all of these points as time progresses.