Proposal for alternative funeral ritual, visible death instead of hiding it away.

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Twenty percent of the Netherlands lies below sea level. Control over nature is a part of the Dutch culture. After autonomous nature disappeared from the Netherlands, in some places the Dutch government together with nature organisations are now rebuilding nature. Rivers that were once made straight are transformed back into meandering streams, stretches of artificial land that were once reclaimed from the sea are given back to the water and areas where nature decides are being created. Another Dutch example of this way of dealing with nnature on another level is the project Death gives life Death gives life, in which several nature organisations recently started to experiment with not removing larger dead animals from nature resorts in an attempt to reintroduce death and dead material in these areas.

Once death was considered as a temporary state. Resurrection, reincarnation or the life after were common beliefs. In the Netherlands human remains nowadays may be removed from graves after a 10 year period. It is then treated as waste-material. This shows that remains and remembrance are becoming more separated from each other. Still we do not fully except the fact that we are part of the natural system. We still do not like to let go of control of nature, even when we die.

I believe that by hiding death we harm ourselves because we make it impossible to genuinely connect with nature. Therefore I propose a new ritual in which a dead persons body is not buried or cremated, but is left behind in nature, where it will be restored to the cycle of nature, a process which can take as little as three weeks. By doing so in the most straightforward way I want to make explicit the fact that death is natural

We remove dead animals from nature resorts because the carcasses might scare people. There are no remote places in the Netherlands. Therefore it is important that locations where human bodies will be left behind will be clearly communicated on site.

The proposal on these photos is for a family grave, where generation after generation dissolve and disappear from the same spot.

Design Academy Eindhoven, Man and Well-being