Not Dead Yet

Architects resurrect Museum of Immortality for Design Week Mexico

Architecture International
Museum of Immortality (Alberto Jurtega / Design Week Mexico)
Museum of Immortality (Alberto Jurtega / Design Week Mexico)

In Mexico City, two architects are reviving old ideas about immortality for a new Design Week Mexico installation.

German architects Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller have resurrected a peculiar curatorial idea from philosopher Boris Groys for their pavilion at Design Week Mexico, the annual showcase of design talent held in the country’s capital.

Groys’s exhibition concept, the Museum of Immortality, has roots in nineteenth-century philosopher Nikolai Fedorov, the founder of anti-death philosophy that advocated the “common task” of bringing the dead back to life. A futurist and devout Christain, Fedorov maintained that adapting the technology that museums use to conserve artifacts would be the best way resurrect the dead. In his book of essays on Russian Cosmism, Groys expounded on Fedorov and others’ ideas on the global museum, a safe-deposit for the never-dead dead.

In a similar spirit, Hirsch and Müller erected their Museum of Immortality on the grounds of Museo Tamayo, which sits inside Chapultepec Park, the city’s largest public space. The 6-by-6 blocks are configured in a 26-foot-tall hexagon which recalls a cross between a crypt and a space castle, according to the exhibition’s press release. An accompanying video by Anton Vidokle and Oleksiy Radynski delves into the theory behind the project.

“We are thrilled to show a prototype for the Museum of Immortality in Mexico City. Its deep fascination with death cults makes Mexico a very special context for such a speculative project,” the architects said in a statement. “Based on theories of cosmism and resurrection by philosopher Boris Groys and artist Anton Vidokle, we try to speculate on the limits of what we call design and the material world. We ask: Can we design after-life? Can—as the context of the Museo Tamayo suggests—humans be preserved like museum artifacts?”

Readers will have to visit to find out: Now in its eighth year, Design Week Mexico brings the country’s designers and architects together for a five-day exhibition, with some installations, like the museum, staying longer—it’s on view through March 2017.

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