Lives of Grass: A Cemetery for Floating Cities
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Art!
It's a floating city whose inhabitants, after centuries in their stratospheric exile, have developed a cultural taboo against burying the dead wholly intact down on the ground. It is not the body that pollutes, according to their aerial customs, but it is the elemental earth that despoils all that comes in contact with it. Could it have anything to do with the reason why they forgo terrestrial existence in the first place?
Laid out on their bottom-half-body death masks, the deceased are now tethered outside-inside cavernous silos embedded into the superstructure. From viewing galleries spiraling around these bottomless wells (and no, public display of putrefaction is not taboo; the squeamish are also weeded out by the constant turbulence), they look like flocks of Archaeopteryxes fossilized in vaporous bedrock — arcing, spreadeagled, contorted, twisting, Trinity with legs akimbo, talons unfurled. Literally a sky burial.
Inside these superimposed Tower of Silence Air Shaft Aviaries, the bodies are slowly atomized into aerosols, which rain down into the earth, revitalizing it. It's cremation with gardening.
Mathilde Roussel, Lives of Grass, 2010. Photo by Matthieu Raffard.)