Death is a part of our shared human experience.
Thinking about our mortality is unsettling and talking about it is even more unpleasant. I'm curious to explore how we might reframe the way we face life and loss and one of the most difficult conversations to be had.
Recuerdos is a collection of anonymous, personal stories around the topic of life and loss. Its designed to create a space that invites readers to share a part of themselves that can foster empowerment, compassion, connection with others and inspire us to live fuller lives.
Join me in undertaking this campaign and reframing how we face life and loss through sharing and listening.
A New Orleans native and first-generation Guatemalan American, I spent my childhood between two rich cultures. Each one had its own funerary traditions, both heavily steeped positivity surrounding loss.
In New Orleans locals hold "jazz funerals." An African-American tradition, these funeral processions feature brass bands that march with the family from the funeral home or church playing somber music en route to the cemetery. After the family says their goodbyes the music takes an upbeat turn and "second lining," a form of cathartic dancing, that celebrates the life of the deceased begins.
In Guatemala, we celebrate Día de Muertos, an annual day dedicated to remembrance where families visit their loved ones for a celebration in the cemetery. Handmade giant kites extend into the skies above grave yards to honor the dead, then once the kites have been wind-torn they are burned allowing the smoke to guide the dead back up to heaven.
Inspired by these cultures, I’m committed to exploring cultural norms, rituals, and perspectives surrounding death.
Anyone from across the world can participate in Recuerdos.
As a participant you will be mailed a prompt to share your inner thoughts and feelings around life and loss. This could be what you miss most about someone you've lost, a fear about dying, something you may regret not doing before you pass, a wish for your future funeral service, a personal or cultural funeral ritual you'd like to share, or anything else. It will be fully open for you to make that decision. Once received these will be shared anonymously online in a repository of collected stories for all to read.
By pledging your support to this campaign, you will join people around the world who believe that:
- Emotions like grief are normal and a part of human nature.
- Sharing personal stories can be liberating.
- We can learn from and find meaning through loss.
- Acknowledge the importance of talking about and planning for death on a more open and frequent basis.
Well, some of them. There are a number of rewards for backers that are detailed in the pledge column, but here are a few of the possible perks for getting involved in this project.
- A faux obituary written for you, by me.
- Funeral Planning Toolkit.
- Custom designed "Parting Favors" for your future funeral.
- Memento mori enamel pin showing your support of this campaign.
Memento mori are symbolic reminders of death. Backers pledging $25 or more to this project will also receive a token of remembrance in the form of a hard enamel pin.
An enamel pin-loving child of the 80's that found inspiration in 16th century mourning jewelry, I've designed an enamel pin that uses clothing as a canvas in the hopes that they can serve as conversation starters in our everyday lives.
To make Recuerdos a reality I will need your support. If funded, this campaign will result in an online compilation of shared stories around death. It will also fund creating a line of enamel pins that can serve as symbols to spark conversations on loss in person.
Backing this campaign will cover the costs to design and manufacture this Memento Mori enamel pin, printing postcards, postage, labor facilitating the project, toolkits, and designing all of its components.
What happens if this campaign exceeds its goal amount of $1,000?
This would be wonderful as my long-term stretch goals would allow me to keep this exchange of stories on-going, to create a full line of Memento mori enamel pins, and to create widely and freely accessible tools such as the end-of-life planning toolkit and projects that continue to facilitate conversations about life and loss among younger demographics.
Hello Kickstarter! My name is Azu. I’m a New Orleans-bred, New York based Interaction Design graduate student at the School of Visual Arts.
I would like to see discussions around end-of-life planning and death become a more frequent, open, and more comfortable thing that we participate in. We design other experiences in our lives, but how can we design our deaths?
Recuerdos is my attempt at starting this conversation and I need your funding and support to make this campaign a reality.
Risks and challenges
My work experience as a designer means that I have the skills to meet my objectives. The participant pin is designed and other pins are in the design phase. I already have a manufacturer lined up so those are good to go!
I’ll also be relying on you, yes you incredible community of backers, to help move the project forward by sharing your stories.
While I do not see any major risks associated with this project, the amount of time it takes to fulfill the rewards may take longer than expected. I will keep you posted in case any unexpected delays arise and as things move forward!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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