Saturday, October 11, 2008

"It's good to be alive in Colma"

Where do I even begin to explain the city of Colma?
Here's what I wrote in an email to Lori:
" 1902 it become illegal to bury any more people in the SFcity limits--residents were worried that disease would leech into the ground water and that all the cemeteries were hurting the SF real estate market. No one wants to live next to a cemetary. Then there was a HUGE disasterous earthquake in 1906 and most of the cemeteries were turned to rubble-- bodies moved to the wrong places under tombstones, tombstones rotated, all sorts of crazy stuff because of the earth shaking. To make things worse, many of the records of who was buried where were burned in fires as a result of the earthquake. So after recovering from the Great Quake, the city decided to pull everyone out of the ground and move them to Colma in the 20's and 30's. The city, just South of San Francisco, was founded as a necropolis. Currently 1,200 people live in Colma and over 1.5million people are buried there-- there are 17 cemeteries and even a pet cemetery too."

Alice and I were doing pretty much opposite research, which was funny-- she took pictures of big marble figures and I took pictures of lichens growing on the headstones. This could be the beginning of new series of small drawings which use these botanical constellations as their source. We went to Holy Cross Cemetary, Cypress Hill Cemetary, the Hills of Eternity, the Serbian Cemetary and, of course, Pets Rest.

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