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Defining 'normal' has become an enigma for today's society. During this pandemic our behavior, forms, gestures, have been forced to change. Meanwhile governments around the world are calling for city lockdowns and reopenings within days or months. Therefore, flexibility is key for us to adapt to constant change, and so for, this type of mourning. This proposal aims to adapt between the digital and the physical space to keep company to the bereaved.
The pandemic has left more than 1 million deaths so far this year (Coronavirus Resource Center. John Hopkins, 2020). Death after Covid 19 has not only attempted a fair dismissal for those diseased by the virus, but the entire world population that has been passing away since January 2020.
The purpose of this project is to provide a digital space for farewell and mourning in the context of the mandatory four-month confinement in Peru. During this period of time, funerals were prohibited, the dead could not be veiled, and traditional burials were replaced by cremations. This platform is a space where memories are seeded in the form of trees and endemic species, located in a virtual landscape inspired by the Peruvian geographic relief.
Subsequently, the farewell ritual that begins in a virtual space, becomes physical with the second part of the project: the idea is to occupy open spaces with potential for public use in Lima (irrigation canals, easements, obsolete airports, landfills, environmental liabilities, marginal strips), and transform them into memorial parks. In this way, the relatives have the possibility of materializing the gesture of planting a tree, in a tangible way, in an ordering grid. In addition, the parallel objective of this part of the project is to cover, in a certain way, the deficit of 56 million m2 of green areas in the city, and generate free and safer areas for social gatherings during the pandemic (WHO, 2020).
Each planted tree will have a non-invasive artifact that commemorates the person being mourned. This artifact is a concrete ring that protects the tree species and can be used as urban furniture. The artifact stands out by contrast between the natural and the artificial, alluding to the relationship of the virtual and physical moments of the ritual.
The project proposes to make visible the extreme situation of mortality nowadays. It also allows that the bereavement, that began in the virtual space, can be projected onto the physical scenario and live while trees grow, creating a very intimate impact on the grieving ones. If this Intervention becomes a reality, it can generate a positive effect on the community, as it promotes new social dynamics in open spaces, and also commits the population to engage and take care of the public space and value their local identity.
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