Cemetery_Safari is a re-imagining of the social function of cemeteries, our ritual for mourning, and our relationship to the wildlife that lives in our urban midst. Trading black for green, we care for the health of our bodies and our environment – wearing cameras on our heads, we record and monitor biodiversity as we reach for the sky and bend towards the ground.
New York City is located on what was once a remarkably biologically diverse, natural landscape. While urban development has drastically changed this wildlife habitat, it has by no means extinguished it. Cemeteries are biodiversity hotspots in urban areas, home to species that many human urban inhabitants would be surprised to learn are their neighbors. As a fundamental storehouse of natural capital on earth, cemeteries deserve increased attention, understanding and preservation (Barrett and Barrett 2000). This preservation is increasingly likely to occur if cemeteries can be accepted as serving functions not only as burial ground – as ecological habitat, as valuable resource for both urban humans and wildlife.
Jonathan Ystad, Dan Scofield, Betsy Medvedovsky