Brian Ambroziak and Katherine Bambrick Ambroziak
TITLE: Luna Ossuarium
MEDIUM: digital prints, stained maple veneered plywood, roofing nails, vinyl, wire, plastic bags, seeds
DIMENSIONS/RUN TIME: 40″ x 32″
DESCRIPTION/STATEMENT: Buried in the endnotes of Lescoux’s Sacred Sites and Early Pilgrimage Routes of the Greek Isles is a description of a
journey that occurred in the southeast region of North America. According to the text, archeologists believe that prehistoric
man traversed great distances to witness a natural phenomenon where beetle-like insects classified as Lampyridae compete for the attention of a female through the use of incremental bioluminescence. Carved into the mud of surrounding caves, ancient glyphs portray a magical world where stars seemingly descend from the heavens. Such instances of
synchronization – order in a seemingly random natural world – must have been a rare instance, an almost godly occurrence, to our prehistoric forefathers.
Ossuary is defined as a ‘chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains, and is frequently used where burial space is scarce.’ This installation expands the definition beyond that of the mere physical artifact – a collection of bones – and considers issues surrounding memory and contemporary ritual. Specifically, it questions how our culture engages the passing act.
Earliest man placed their dead within earthen mounds as a way of showing respect and addressing the physical remains. These tumulus forms held the highest elevations as sacred and encapsulated the wonder of distant landscapes. In Roman times, the city wall served as the boundary between the living and the dead. Arrival was defined by a recognition of the past and paid homage to scribed stones that spoke of ancestral conquest. This tautly pulled string, connecting points of an empire, began to
fray as a network of underground labyrinths tunneling ‘downward’ appeared, providing niched burials for pagan and Christian believers alike. The great cities of Europe formed concentrically around a church whose foundations were secured by the stones of its parishioners, its grounds tended weekly for generations. Changes in practice, the scattering of remains, yielded an even greater focus on the cemetery landscape until Olmstead’s parks and transience challenged the psychological role of the cemetery altogether. The quandary – has the contemporary cemetery become a mere place of ‘storage’ for the bones of our ancestors lacking symbolic and metaphorical relevance?
The Luna Ossuarium Project [LOP] embraces the scale and speed of contemporary society. It serves to connect the sacredness of life to the mythology – the poetry – of the moon. A city of the dead – a fictional burning man – is superimposed on a sea of serenity. Thirty-two tags, now thirty, recall a single phase and contain a nocturnal garden… a daily reminder of our past.
nocturnal garden seed identification. ipomoea noctiflora, zaluzianskya capensis, stachys ianata, mirabilis jalapa, nicotiana
sylvestris, matthiola longipetala, lavandula angustifolia