Seeds of Life (in death?)

I’ve been thinking of proposing farming in graveyards. If we celebrate death, why not see it as a chance for those who have passed to contribute to the sustenance of life? Graveyards, I have come to notice, are rather large areas, sometimes with the gravespaces not being dug-up for long. Clearly the body has decayed and nourished the earth enough? Would it not be int the best interest of society – and I wished that was what religion stood for- to use this soil, this land, which we are short of in this capitalist day and age, of tall buildings and land claimed for corporate purposes, to create food to sustain the living?

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Why not, otherwise, use spaces within churches to develop a collective feeling of ownership? Of course I would identify maintaining present tree cover for obvious reasons – their advantage to maintaining conducive climate settings, preventing soil degredation – all those basic school-level geography reasons. Yes, someone will steal the crop perhaps. But they only will if they are starving. If not, why not make it so accessible and user-friendly, that people are invited to help sustain the produce and take as they wish. If there is no conversation to develop our devotion to bettering life, how can we call ourselves human beings?

Why not, I wonder, use existing institutions in their crudest, most basic idea, to overthrow a more threatening system?

(In)Finite

I wonder if Lefebvre was just cryptomnesic, or if he really wrote without citing (everything) as a method of reinventing meaning and contesting ownership. “Who is not utopian today? Only narrowly specialised practitioners working to order without the slightest critical examination of stipulated norms and constraints, only these not very interesting people escape utopianism. […] But there are several utopianisms. Would not the worst be that utopianism which does not utter its name, covers itself with positivism and on this basis imposes the harshest constraints and the most derisory absence of technicity?” (Kofman & Lebas, 1996: 151)

The city is an imagined, performed focal point where people paradoxically claim place but do not belong. In their complexities, the collective or crowds that infest the cities access it at will, openly. It belongs to none. They encourage art, spectacles and performance in their multiple senses, making it most accessible to all. (Watson & Gibson, 1995: 116, 118-119) It is not difficult to believe that the (city) centres were purposefully used to publicly discipline criminals. (Foucault, 1977: 3-5) By virtue of their accessibility (in that they remain open to the public) city centres could be identified as spaces that render us all spectators of others’ lives, voyeurs while simultaneously exhibitionists.

The two in this situation aren’t restricted to sexual display of the self, although, it does not eliminate this form of the terms. By virtue of being in a city, rarely unpopulated (even when desolate, it houses the homeless) the chances that a gaze will not fall upon us is but inevitable. The police patrolling it when deserted, the tendency for club-hoppers to pass through, the soliciting of and solicited sex and the staggering drunk. If it isn’t ensured yet, the body is then viewed through an enhanced mechanism, the surveillance cameras set-up and maintained (or made to believe so) in these areas. Despite our knowledge of this viewing, we not only allow ourselves to experience the city, but rarely contest the gaze which is often viewed as harmless.

Aren’t we all voyeuristic exhibitionists these days?

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References:

Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and Punish. Translated from the French by Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin.

Kofman, E. and Lebas, E. 1996. Writings on Cities/ Henri Lefebvre: Selected, translated and introduced. Oxford: Blackwell.

Watson, S. and Gibson, K. 1995. Postmodern Cities and Spaces. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell.