Hung Out in Any Good Cemeteries Lately?


#1

'Cemetery Walk' asks you to meditate on loss and remembrance as you visit strangers' memorials.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/yw33dy/hung-out-in-any-good-cemeteries-lately

#2

Real talk, I was just in a cemetery a couple days ago for my grandma’s funeral (it’s fine, really; she was 92 and well-loved). First time I had been to an actual burial, although we didn’t stick around for the actual lowering-of-the-casket, shovelling-dirt part. I did come back in the evening to view the filled-in grave and pay an additional bit of respect.

Whenever I’m home, my best friend and I will often take an evening (well, late-night) stroll through that very cemetery. It can be eerie at times but it’s never really bothered me. The monuments make for a kind of physical immortality, and every time I see a name I’m bringing them back in a way. There are unfortunately few cemeteries remaining in central Ottawa, so I don’t get that experience too often.


#3

Danika did you just challenge me to a Goth-Off


#4

I think Cameron’s final statement is absolutely correct, but I don’t know that I find it disturbing. Maybe it’s the scope—sacred things collapsing into a big pile of trash just seems natural to me. Every piece of trash might have the potential for sacredness, but no level of sacredness prevents it from eventually becoming dust.

As the internet-as-cemetery is something I felt a lot earlier this year. I had a friend who died really young this past spring (both of us were college juniors). He was a photographer and had a huge trove of work on his website, and I spent a lot of time looking through it. And it felt like I was visiting a grave, connecting with him through his work.

The domain registration for his site eventually ran out and now it’s vacant, but there are still full snapshots saved in the Wayback Machine. That was really what got me thinking about this—a massive archiving tool was indiscriminately scanning website after website and ended up archiving one that, for all intents and purposes, preserved the collected art of someone who had passed away.

Does that make the Wayback Machine (which is essentially just a snapshot of the internet) a giant cemetery? Honestly, in some ways yeah.

Needless to say, I’m definitely trying this game when I get out of class today.


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#5

I used to live across the street from an enormous cemetery and I’d go jogging through it fairly often. It had pretty good pedestrian paths and it was pretty.


#6

Moving around in New England and New York, you see a lot of cemeteries whose planners imagined they’d be used not just as a space to remember the dead, but as a public park as well–a very quiet park with absolutely no ballgames allowed, but still. The way that digital archiving–especially as done by folks like the Internet Archive–maintains a presence for those who have gone reminds me of that. The amount of maintenance they have to do to keep that work stitched into the internet’s public spaces is tremendous and never-ending.

Anyway, Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston is a good public cemetery to visit if you’re in town. There’s a nice tower to climb, and a sphinx that memorializes the Civil War.

[Hart’s Albany Rural Cemetery, Albany Institute of History and Art]


#7

I used to live in Dundee, which has a gorgeous cemetery right in the middle of the city called The Howff. It’s a gorgeous wee place surrounded by old tenement buildings, and it’s absolutely one of my favourite places in any Scottish city. There’s an hour long video of some archivists going around the Howff and talking about its history that’s worth watching if you have the time:

Speaking of time and cemeteries, I grew up in a tiny fishing village near Dundee that’s full of cracking old kirks and cemeteries. Being next to the see, the land under them has shifted in the hundreds of years since they were first built, and there’s been a ton of fantastic community work to preserve the buildings and the gravestones.

In the process of thinking about all of this I came across this website with an amazing database of Scottish churches, which I might spend the rest of my evening browsing through: http://www.scottishchurches.org.uk/sites/regions/


#8

Interestingly enough, there’s going to be a screening of The Seventh Seal and Harold & Maude at the Mount Auburn Cemetery this Tuesday. I was thinking of going, but also it just feels weird and maybe disrespectful knowing that it’s still an active burial place? At least it’s a tasteful selection of films rather than like, Night of the Living Dead (though I would definitely be down for that).


#9

Currently studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan. Took a little detour on my way home from school the other day and found this beautiful little graveyard right next to a neighborhood. It’s my first time seeing a Japanese graveyard, and the shapes and arrangements of the stones were really fascinating. I didn’t actually enter into it as I don’t know if that’s okay for me to do. I might try and take some pictures of it tomorrow.

EDIT: I took the pictures.


It turns out that the cemetery serves as a back-entrance to a beautiful Buddhist temple. Neat!


#10

my hometown has a cemetery just off the main road out of town, tucked between a row of houses and a playing field.
it has been out of use as long as long as I can remember. completely overgrown, chapel falling down, paths a distant memory.
we used to hang out there all the time as kids, clambering over tree roots and hiding behind headstones and stuff.


#11

Oh hey, my pal made this game!
The game did bring up some feelings for me, about death, specifically death of people you’ve never met. There are online communities I’ve been a part of where prominent users died, and one death in particular gets on my mind from time to time. There was a girl I never interacted with, but I knew her personality through her posts. I remember (and use) specific phrases she used. It’s a weird thing, because I have no claim to her memory. Mourning her, especially after all these years, doesn’t seem earned. Yet she definitely takes up more space in my thoughts than, for example, either of my four deceased grandparents, two of whom I spent a large amount of time with as a kid. Death is an absurd, abstract thing, and its weird to interact with in actual, concrete situations.