bestJohn Muse & Jeanne C. Finley interviewing John F. Walters, the Chief Bridge Engingeer, about the Falsework over the Presidio Pet Cemetery. Photo by Laurie Halsey Brown

An interdisciplinary project by Finley + Muse

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1Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse led a walking tour of the Pet Cemetery in the San Francisco Presidio on November 17th, sharing information about the history of the cemetery and the falsework that was put up temporarily during Doyle Drive construction. The tour included passing members of the Threshold Choir (an all-women’s a capella choir that sings at bedside for hospice and palliative care) who sang in front of the cemetery in commemoration of the owners and the pets they laid to rest there when the Presidio was used by the military.

Falsework consists of temporary structures used in construction to support, protect, provide scaffolding for, or shore up other architectural components of the construction zone.

The Presidio Pet Cemetery, nestled under Doyle Drive at the foot of McDowell Avenue, is the final resting place for the more than 420 dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, and goldfish that once lived on the military base at the Presidio. Grave markers date back more than fifty years, when about 2,000 families were stationed there.  The base was closed in 1996 and is now a national park.

While Doyle Drive (the ramp that leads north to the Golden Gate Bridge) is being replaced overhead, the Pet Cemetery is protected by construction fencing and falsework and is currently inaccessible. After construction ends in 2015, the site will be restored and once again serve as a reminder of what military family life was like at the Presidio.

Finley+Muse are creating an experimental documentary that chronicles the building of the falsework over the cemetery site.  Additionally, a current geocaching project that brings avatars of living pets and their owners to the site will be developed into a full walking tour of the area for the re-opening of the cemetery in 2015.   Interviews with those who saved the cemetery, as well as those involved in the construction of this multi-million dollar, multi-ton falsework will be integrated into the video as well as the Falsework geocaching website.  Finley+Muse’s multi-faceted Falsework project will evoke the visual disparity between the fragile, illusive graves and the massive cement and steel beams that encase and protect them to explore the dynamic relationship between humans, animals and site through military family life at the Presidio.

sketchArt created during the event by Laurie Wigham


Nomadic Nature In Situ is a seasonal project curated by senseofplace LAB, in/for the landscape. For 2013, each of the four works in this project will focus on and take place in the Presidio, San Francisco. The works do not interfere with the local ecology, and are temporary. Each piece will contribute to the development of a shared ‘language of place’.

Each season, an artist or artist group will be invited to respond to a landscape/situation chosen for them by senseofplace LAB. This project is primarily an invitation for artists/architects/designers/urban planners/writers to work in response to the landscape as an experimental aspect of their practice, not just  those with backgrounds working in response to the natural environment.

The work the artists create will respond to the environment, and evolve organically through time. Each new work will include an event, and a half an hour meditational sit. The works will be documented by senseofplace LAB every season, and the resulting documentation of all of the projects as a whole after one year will become it’s own work.