Region/Concept: Europe, Body
Sub-Concepts: Decomposition, Encapsulation, Budding, Organic
Description: Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel create organic burial pods called “Capsula Mundi.”

1:1. One decomposing body, one tree. Design constructs and preserves this equation. (For a time.) In any case one would expect a dead body placed in the ground to contribute mineral nutrients to a growing tree. It is the constraint of one body with one set of roots and the resulting production of an exact exchange between death and life that thrills (could there be justice in death?) and horrifies (will we be held accountable for life, in death too?).

This equation is a place of dissociation. The incapacities of modern cultures to allow space for the unfolding of either dying or decomposing—gradual letting go of layered strata of materiality into chaotic ecologies—here finds its expression in a design that places death in a crypt called life. Yet it is the mysterious inaccessibility of the crypt made visible and tangible by the interface of a “burial pod” that also calls forth a surging new desire to reach for (cringe from) our dead. We will no longer be able to see the budding of spring without smelling the scent of our beloved. The nurturing atmosphere we receive from the collective breathing of trees will be inseparable from the karmic traces of our ancestors—those tyrants, those heroes, those silent faces.


Una Chung