Up in Smoke

Paul Mosley




Up in Smoke: Project for a Burial Pyramid in Xi’an








The burial complex of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty displays Xian’s history of largescale and elaborate burial projects. Craftsmen who worked making terracotta drainage pipes made the figures using molds and an assembly-line production system of cast body parts. Following this ingenuity and scale, I propose a burial data complex in the form of a 100m x 100m pyramid. To compress area, vertically oriented caskets line the exterior surface of the pyramid. They form a roof over a data center designed to collect the social media presence of those who pass. Through image rectification, the individual’s digital image passes from the data center to the innermost sanctum using homographic projection. Mourners approach the complex in the greater territory of Xian as a contemporary pyramid among the ancient pyramids throughout the Xianyang river valley – a place known as the cradle of civilization. Intended as both a cemetery and plaza, mourners approach the complex through a garden to carry a flower across the grave surface and into a series of scaled pyramids, the centermost space with a cauldron. Following the custom of burning xi bo, flowers are burned in the cauldron creating billows of smoke that rise through the holographic projection of those who pass.


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