About Us: me and my work.
“My approach to a competition titled “Landscape in Action” was to study a landscape lacking action; Ostra-Kyrkegard, Malmo’s largest cemetery. I recently read a paper about this cemetery, arguing that it feels abandoned, as many graves in a large central part are unmaintained. It explains this decline through the location of the cemetery, in a neighbourhood that over time has seen a cultural shift towards residents with foreign roots and different cultural backgrounds. The (mainly Christian) cemetery is no longer compatible with the residents and subsequently left abandoned. Initially I attempted to capture the social incompatibility between this neighbourhood and Ostra-Kyrkegard, but soon concluded that this was not the core of the problem of the cemetery.
I did not find an empty cemetery, but one filled with non-funerary activities, as well as the less visible interactions with the graves. Many of the graves haven’t been abandoned, the relationship between the place of burial and the bereaved has simply changed over time. When a grave is not attended often this does not mean it is not important to someone, it just shows a more distant relationship with the landscape. The biggest flaw of the cemetery is that it is dependent on attendance and care to create diversity in an otherwise homogenous landscape; the current activities have just not been accounted for.
The recent cultural change has merely exposed this problem. The brief argues that our being and place are inseparable, but does this necessarily confine us to the space we are physically present? Our being is as much referential as it is bound to place; there are infinite ways to interact with the landscape. Instead of reflecting on this notion and creating landscapes able to adapt to different use, designers often insist on predicting and relying on activity. This becomes painfully clear in the last shot of my film, showing a Muslim extension that could easily be imagined suffering the same faith of abandonment as soon as the population changes again.
The narrative of my film is based a short story called “Funes, the Memorius”. The story is about Funes, a boy able to remember everything. His remembering was a burden on him. He spent his time in a dark room, as to not create too many new memories. Consequentially, Funes’ relationship with his past would always stay the same. Ostra-Kyrkegard is designed for people like Funes, as every grave is assumed to always be attended in the same manner. Yet Funes, with his eye for miniscule detail, would be the first to see that a design like this would never work.”