“Ancient Egyptians occasionally buried their dead in boats. These were not caskets or sarcophagi in the form of boats, but real, functional wooden boats. Though buried deep underground, the understanding was that these boats would carry the departed on an afterlife journey. This use of a functional form exclusively for storytelling has inspired my own quest to imagine a modern-day burial ceremony.
For this installation, slivers modeled from 86-foot diameter satellite dishes of the Very Large Array in New Mexico intersect the gallery space, forming pattern-infused canopies. Derived from the famous cosmic microwave background image, shadows of the pattern broadcast throughout the space, alluding to the dish as an agent of travel through time and space.
This installation evokes the use of satellite dishes as a burial object for a space-faring culture. Placed within a satellite dish and buried, the dead's afterlife journey to the stars is facilitated. Furthermore, this ceremony can be utilized on distant planets in order to facilitate the dead's afterlife journey back home, to Earth. Further thoughts about how ancient ceremonies inform our modern life are encouraged by the experience.”
Jesse Small (U.S., b. 1974)
Space Burial (rendering), 2017
Computer generated digital rendering
Image courtesy of the artist