Get now. Die Later.
That’s the slogan for MuMufication, a new form of memorialisation which fires small portions of human remains into Bricks of Mu. Every year on 23rd November, people gather for the Toxteth Day of the Dead and Bricks of Mu are ceremoniously laid into the People’s Pyramid. As more bricks are added, the Pyramid grows upwards and outwards; it will not be completed until it stands 23 feet high, which is likely to take at least 999 years.
It sounds like something out of science fiction, strangely reminiscent of the burial practices in the Star Wars planet Ferrix where the community presses the remains of their dead into funerary bricks that are used to build the town’s walls.
However, MuMufication is real and, according to its creators, it is ‘deadly serious’. When artist and musician Jimmy Cauty’s brother Simon died in 2016, he wanted something more concrete, grand and permanent to mark the death. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (one of Cauty and his creative partner Bill Drummond’s many aliases) began a partnership with The Green Funeral Company (run by Rupert and Clare Callender) to make it happen.
The practice of buying our brick ready for our death is a modern twist on the memento mori tradition, which uses symbols of death (most often skulls, but sometimes coffins, hourglasses or wilting flowers) as reminders of mortality. Memento mori literally means ‘remember that you die’ and variously aims to encourage virtuous living which prepares the soul for the afterlife, or a ‘seize the day’ attitude which recognises life’s precious brevity. Although the MuMufication website understands that you might want to ‘hide it under your bed in an effort to deny the transience of life’, ‘it is recommended that you place your Brick of Mu on your mantlepiece to remind you how vital each passing day is’.
The People’s Pyramid is a way to make death visible, both part of life and monumental, bringing together people from a huge variety of backgrounds to create a collective memorial which values everyone equally.
MuMumification is just one example of ‘Punk Undertaker’ Rupert Callender’s ground-breaking and taboo-busting work to revolutionise the funeral industry. Having experienced the death of his father at the age of seven, his grandparents just months later, and his mother when he was 25, he is passionate about finding ways to celebrate people we loved and lost which are personal, out-of-the-ordinary, and most importantly real.
Ru will be joining Good Grief Weston for the panel discussion ‘Everything You Wanted to Know About Death, Dying and Grief but Never Had the Chance to Ask’ after Liz Rothschild’s one-woman show at Front Room on Sunday 7th May: https://superculture.org.uk/listings/outside-the-box
He will also be opening our finale event ‘Grief at Grove Park’ on Monday 8th May: https://superculture.org.uk/listings/ggw-finale
To learn more about MuMumification (and maybe purchase your own brick), visit: https://www.mumufication.com
Image taken from https://www.mumufication.com/the-peoples-pyramid/