Life after life
Honoring the deceased
It's a project questioning the ways of remembering the deceased today. It is a set of two objects, created using essential death and afterlife symbols: water, fire and tree.
Reusable ice candle holder tray
The first object is a reusable ice candle holder tray for remembering at the cemetery. The ice candle holder is a more sustainable choice because ice simply melts and disappears into the ground.
It's a two-part shape that fits in a freezer and can be used by anyone at home. The bottom of the candle holder is funnel-shaped, so it is convenient to stick it into the ground. If you want to grow plants, you can freeze seeds inside the ice (seeds that benefit from pre-freezing: lavender, lupine, poppy, and others). When ice melts, seeds are sown into the ground. An inverted candlestick holder looks like a small house. It protects the candle from being put out by rain. Ice also has a hole for air.
By pouring water into the tray, adding seeds and freezing the candle holder one expresses care for the relatives who have already left, instead of standing in line at the store to buy single-use plastic or glass cemetery lanterns.
An important object when remembering a person these days is his photograph. It can be painful to see it constantly, so in this object, because of the mechanism inside, the photograph appears only during the ritual of remembering - when the candle is lit. The integrated ice candle is an accent that unites both objects of the Life After Life project. As the ice melts, the water drips down into the tray and waters the tree.
A place for remembering at home
A second object is a place for lighting a candle for a deceased loved one at home. It consists of three essential traditional symbols related to the world of the dead: water, tree and most importantly - fire. They unite different religions and also, due to their naturalness, they're suitable for the ones who do not profess any religion.
Why question the ways of remembering?
Traditions these days are often harmful to the environment. Every year mountains of disposed of single-use plastic and glass lanterns can be seen next to cemeteries. Sometimes people bring a big amount of lanterns to the grave, instead of putting just one or two. There is a race going on for whose grave is going to have more decorations. In my opinion, this behavior has to change. Also, there are no alternatives for people who want to light a candle for the deceased, but also care about the environmental problems or try to live with less or zero waste.
Sometimes people can’t visit the graves of their loved ones. These days one rarely stays to live in their forefathers' land. They chose to live in foreign countries around the world. So, places of eternal rest become scattered around different parts of the world and are harder to reach. Some can’t visit the grave because they have health problems. Also, traveling is limited by the restrictions during the
pandemic. And there is still a need for a person to pay tribute to the departed by some gesture, to have a calm place to think and spend some time with a deceased loved one.
Also, current ways of honoring the dead sometimes become just a habit, a duty, and are insincere. It is very important to preserve the old rituals and traditions, however many values are on the verge of overestimation. Many people find cemeteries cold and unwelcoming places to think of positive memories. Why is it necessary to remember exactly at the grave, when in everyday life we remember a lot more? These days one has more photographs, videos, and personal belongings that remind him of the deceased relative. So, remembering often takes place at home, where all the reminiscent items are. Also, are Catholic ways of honoring suitable to people professing other or any religion? What ritual would be acceptable to a person of today?
"Young designer prize", 1st place winner, 2021