• Keeping Your Dead Pets Alive Forever

    Furever
    Amy Finkel, Director

    We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become overwhelming. Over the last ten years the number of companies and funeral homes offering pet memorialization services, products, and bereavement literature have ballooned.

    Meg came across the following in-development documentary on pet loss. The film, Furever, has got chops so we’re throwing its director, Amy Finkel, a Death Ref bone.

    Ok. Enough with the bad metaphors and puns.

    The Death Reference Desk has been running dead pet stories for a long time and we are more than happy to add this one to the list.

    Two words: Freeze Drying.

    Furever is a documentary exploration of pet preservation, or, the processes by which a deceased pet is professionally conserved. I have shot forty hours of footage of one technique, freeze-drying, which produces disarmingly lifelike results. This seemingly bizarre practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief, and mourning. The concepts investigated in Furever will disarm anyone who might want to dismiss the subjects as mere oddball caricatures.

     

    Furever contributes to the dialogue on death and grief, bewildering aspects of the human condition, begun by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, dovetailing with the growing trend toward pet anthropomorphism, and the anguish that befalls the owners of deceased pets. Many dismiss or judge pet preservationists for being “unbalanced,” yet the assorted rituals in place for deceased human loved ones, while precious to those who practice them, often seem odd or unusual to outsiders.

    Furever Amy Finkel, Director We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become…

  • Where New York’s Unclaimed Dead Bodies Get Buried

    Artist’s Study of Island Brings the Dead to Life
    Adam Geller, Associated Press (October 30, 2010)

     

    Hart Island Project
    Melinda Hunt

    This is a really compelling article about a New York burial ground for unclaimed bodies. Adam Geller, from the Associated Press, wrote a lengthy piece about both Hart Island (the cemetery) and artist Melinda Hunt, who turned Hart Island into a fascinating artistic project.

    It’s a great read. You will find similar kinds of articles in the Death + The Economy section of Death Ref. There is no shortage of unclaimed dead bodies these days.

    At top is a short section from a documentary entitled Hart Island: An American Cemetery.

    Artist’s Study of Island Brings the Dead to Life Adam Geller, Associated Press (October 30, 2010)   Hart Island Project Melinda Hunt This is a…

  • It’s My Way or Highway (to Hell). Neither O.K.

    Australia’s Catholic church bans pop songs at funerals Reuters, Melbourne. September 10, 2010 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time…

  • If Cremated Human Remains Can’t Go In It Then You Don’t Need It

    Company Presses Your Ashes Into Vinyl When You Die Olivia Solon, Wired (August 27, 2010) Many many people saw this Wired article on human cremains…

  • Social Networking’s Sudden Morbidity and Mortality

    Twitter. And Facebook. And death. Future Tense with John Moe, American Public Media (August 16, 2010) Just recently, Twitter announced new guidelines on what it…

  • 1000Memories, a Thousand Possibilities

    Despite the option of putting a deceased Facebook user’s account into memorial mode (and necessity, to avoid suggestions to “reconnect”), Facebook is for the living….

  • Valerie’s New York Talks Memorial Tattoos with John

    Valerie’s New York interview with John Troyer on Memorial Tattoos WOR 710 AM (August 4, 2010) Here is the link for the radio interview I…

  • Romanian Grave Markers: the Lighter Side of Death, the Darker of Life

    Săpânţa: The Happy Cemetery Dumneazu (July 23, 2010) While grave markers can be creative and downright wacky, most reflect the solemnity of death — just…

  • WNYC Interview on Memorial Tattoos

    Morbid Ink: Memorial Tattoos Samantha Stark, WNYC radio (July 21, 2010) WNYC radio in New York put together a short piece on Memorial Tattoos, which…

  • Legacy for Hire

    A recent post by Idle Words blog caught my eye. It’s about the unscrupulous practices of Legacy.com, the back end machinery behind obituary notices in…

  • This is What It Sounds Like When Avatars Die…

    Virtual Estates Lead to Real-World Headaches Chris V. Nicholson, The New York Times (November 02, 2009) I am not an online gamer so I don’t…

  • No More Status Updates from Dead FB Friends

    Facebook ‘memorialises’ profiles BBC News (October 27, 2009) It was bound to happen sooner or later. You know, someone dies and then Facebook goes ahead…