Apr 18, 2024 - Things to Do

Congressional Cemetery invites you to "call" lost loved ones

A phone booth sits on a bench outside of Congressional Cemetery.

"The Landscape Listens." Photo courtesy of Kitty Linton Photography

Can you talk to the dead? A new public art installation at Congressional Cemetery, "The Landscape Listens," invites visitors to commune with natural and ethereal planes.

Why it matters: Congressional is an active, 217-year-old cemetery in Southeast D.C., and public art is yet another way it connects with the community — a cemetery for the living and the dead.

The big picture: Local artist Tommy Bobo and curator Ashley Molese took inspiration from Japanese artist Itaru Sasaki, whose "wind phone" installation in northern Japan was designed to link this world and the next. It creates space for mourning, reflection, and remembrance.

Zoom in: At Congressional, Bobo installed dozens of mirrored sculptures designed to recall reflective pools, which react to wind and the environment.

  • According to the cemetery, they act as a vehicle "to carry remembrances across the wind, ferrying the words spoken into the wind phone to people beyond."
  • An analog phone nearby allows visitors to "call" loved ones.

If you go: Congressional Cemetery (1801 E St., SE) is open to the public on most days. The installation runs through June.

Rows of large mirrors, shaped like skateboards, stand on small pillars in the grass of Congressional Cemetery, and trees reflect off the mirrors.
Photo courtesy of Kitty Linton Photography
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