Remembrance of Things Past

– by Michael Ladner When you die, you will most likely be either buried or cremated.
Then you get a headstone, or you simply blow away. These institutions of remembering the dead reinforce the gloom and solitude attached to our established fear of death. This fear is what most people try to battle by achieving fame. Anything to be remembered.
The Swiss company Algodanza offers a twenty-first century novelty for memorialization: flashy, high-end diamonds, forged from the carbon remains of your loved one. But doesn‘t the mystifying allure of a diamond lie not in its „beauty,“ but rather in the frigidity of crystallization? Even here, the Todesangst is reflected by an attempt at imitating individual immortality.
The German writer/artist/theorist Ingo Niermann has conceived of a tomb for all people, a collective, democratic place of rest. The Great Pyramid Monument is constructed from personal gravestones containing the remains or whatever the person wishes to be remembered by. Each stone is the same size. Inherent in this ancient architectural form is its ability to steadily expand without degrading the shape. So sky is the limit in terms of size.
The idea is analogous to Rem Koolhaas‘s proposal for a European flag as a barcode made up of individual countries‘ flags. New members of the Union can always be added onto the whole, while retaining individual identity, rather than being signified by an anonymous star in a alienating sea of blue. No wonder Koolhaas is the president of the jury board of Friends of the Great Pyramid Monument.
But more intriguing than the magnitude of the project is its innovative take on memorialization. Rather than compartimentalizing the deceased into plots or receptacles, which have classically been further divided by cultural hegemony or religious belief, the Great Pyramid Monument brings our remains together, regardless of creed. Death is no longer confined to the blackness of a coffin; rather, it radiates the plurality of the human race while providing a spectacle in public space for the living to enjoy. 
– Michael Ladner

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