Hamlet, the ghost of the Cemetery of the Ashes of Thought is an attempt to revive the ghost of the unbuilt project for the Cemetery of the Ashes of Thought, drawn in 1975.
This enigmatic proposal was conceived by John Hejduk for the same site of Gino Valle’s Social Housing Complex (1980-86), where the Unfolding Pavilion is taking place, as a response to the call by the organizers of the 1975 Venice Biennale to raise awareness of the degraded state of Giudecca island. This is Hejduk’s full description of the project:
«The Molino Stucky Building’s exteriors are painted black. The Molino Stucky Building’s interiors are painted white. The long, extended walls of the Cemetery for the Ashes of Thought are black on one side and white on the other side. The top and end surfaces of the long extended walls are grey. Within the walls are one-foot square holes at eye level. Within each one-foot-square hole is placed a transparent cube containing ashes.
Under each hole upon the wall there is a small bronze plaque indicating the title, and only the title of a work, such as Remembrance of Things Past, The Counterfeiters, The Inferno, Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, etc. Upon the interior of the walls of the Molino Stucky Building are small plaques with the names of the authors of the works: Proust, Gide, Dante, Milton, Melville, etc. In the lagoon on a man-made island is a small house for the sole habitation of one individual for a limited period of time. Only one individual for a set period of time may inhabit the house, no others will be permitted to stay on the island during its occupation. The lone individual looks across the lagoon to the Cemetery for the Ashes of Thought.»
John Hejduk, Mask of Medusa, ed.
(Rizzoli, New York,1985) p. 80