OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Momento Necropolis.

Inform our uncertain certainty relating to death.

Photo of Robert Guertin
3 5

Written by

At the scale of environmental infrastructure, death has a sort of permanence. Space allocated both physically (cemeteries or mausoleums) and mentally (memories). Thoughts on how we approach honoring life, studying grief, memory vs. identity, cultural implications and defining loss.

We all approach this situation differently, some social some reclusive by nature. This reaction is totally vernacular. My interest falls along the line of preparation, ritual and performance. In a way we should celebrate the end of life, just as we do the beginning (albeit it is painful to let someone exit your life).

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

I urge you to throw out all previous connotations of how you perceive life and loss. How would you like others to experience your own loss? How would you want them to find comfort and solitude in your absence?

3 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Aaron Wong

Hi Robert Guertin , I was reading your comment about nostalgia on Shane's post Sharing our last bowl of “long life noodles” with Grandma over WeChat , and I'm glad you wrote an inspiration to follow up!

I think you've hit two very great topics: the idea of permanence (or impermanence) and the momento - whether it be a built environment or a digital/physical product. 

Couple issues this reminds me of are 1) Lack of space in certain countries/cities which means that old graves may have to be dug up and relocated. 2) Graves so old no one alive remembers.

These issues revolve around a ritual and may seem like 21st-century problems, but as we plan for the future, how will we address these issues, how do we adapt old rituals, and how do we craft new ones?

Photo of Robert Guertin

Aaron Wong, thanks for the comments! 

Yes, I am new to OpenIDEO which is a great platform. I'm glad you brought up those two points regarding lack of space and age of graves. I actually left out the first point in hopes someone would bring it up. The issue of re-settlement and what that can psychologically do to a family.

Two more issues I will touch on are somewhat, out of our control. One being unexpected death and second being intentional self inflicted. In this case, no one can possibly prepare to overcome this type of loss. Yet, I am sitting here wondering if there ever were a way to alleviate this, how would this happen. In a primitive way, there are "pop-up graves" you see along the side of the rode, shaping our landscapes, white bicycles chained nearby a fallen cyclist, etc. These nuances have developed over time and are a testament to design and paying respect.  

Photo of Aaron Wong

Happy to have you and your ideas, Robert (:

I think there are a lot psychological and mental health issues that will arise in this challenge. Emily Keller-Logan mentioned a few, helplessness, sadness, confusion, in Reducing fear around death for loved ones . Is perception really the key as you say, or are there other aspects worth exploring? How does the built environment/product, or the digital experience affect our perception?

And in regards to your second point of unexpected surprises, I can't help but wonder if Maya Hawke 's post the OS is Dissolving on digital storytelling is related. What can new technology do for us that has not been explored before?