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1984 1984 1984

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The Participants
RELAYS: 11. Ahmet Sekercioglu 93
relays to Death Reference Desk 95
1. Stacey Pitsillides 1
relays to Esther Makkay 3 12. Richard Banks 99
relays to Britta Rensing 9 relays to Death Reference Desk 101

2. Toni Sant 15 13. Peregrine Andrews 105

relays to Peregrine Andrews 17 relays to Antonis Tryphonos 107

3. Niki Lambropoulos 21 14. Janis Jefferies 111

relays to Duncan Fairfax 23 relays to Death Reference Desk 113

4. Nathan Lustig 29 15. Rob Walker 119

relays to Anonymous 31 relays to Richard Banks 121
relays to Janis Jefferies 35
16. Britta Rensing 127
5. Roland Van Rijswijk 39 relays to Yolanda Kading 129
relays to Janis Jefferies 41
17. Esther Makaay 133
6. Michela Magas 45 relays to Rob Walker 135
relays to Judi Clark 47
18. John Wood 139
7. Death Reference Desk 53 relays to Ahmet Sekercioglu 141
relays to Toni Sant 55
relays to Niels De Jong 59 19. Niels De Jong 145
relays to Elaine Kasket 63 relays to Michela Magas 147

8. Elaine Kasket 71 20. Duncan Fairfax 153

relays to Niki Lambropoulos 73 relays to Stacey Pitsillides 155

9. Anonymous 77 21. Judi Clark 159

relays to Nathan Lustig 79 relays to Roland Van Rijswijk 161

10. Yolanda Kading 83 22. Antonis Tryphonos 165

relays to Elaine Kasket 85 relays to Nathan Lustig 167
Digital Death is defined as the death
of a living being and the way it
affects the digital world or the death
of a digital object and the way it
affects a living being.

Basically, one person (in this case
me) starts the relay by simply asking
a question. This question is then
passed on to the most relevant person,
who answers it. Then this person has
their chance to pose a question. This
question is then passed on and the
cycle continues.


The question may be asked from a range
of disciplines and frameworks, they
may be academic, economic, personal,
professional or simply questions of
curiosity about the wide area
of ‘death and the digital.’
MRes Goldsmiths Design Student!
Research focuses on Digital Death,
Digital Afterlife and Digital


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1 2
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Do you think we need to begin to make
provisions for what happens to you and
your loved ones digital information
and identity(s) after death, do you
think the simple existence of a
‘digital self’ affects the ‘way’ we
as a society remember and mourn loved

3 4
Well that’s actually quite a few or partial identities that we have
questions included in one, you because they’re not with us as a real
cheated. Ok I think this question has, person but there is a very important
two specific fragments and one is, do aspect of us that is very distinct
you think we need to make provisions sometimes or very important to some
for what happens to you and you loved groups. Maybe its also similar to the
ones digital information and perhaps way that if a pubic figure dies, then
identities after death because to me his family will love him and the work
that also has to do with the way we relations will mourn in their own way
portray ourselves digitally and online but also the public has its own right
and it can be aspects of ourselves to a piece of whoever is deceased and
that could live on separately. I could I think that is sort of similar to
imagine even people with a blog or what will happen digitally because
some alter ego to allow others to even somehow these digital aspects of us
take over their identity and carry on seem to be an enlargement of the way
in honor, if you want, or in spirits we compartmentalize our identity in
and to enhance that or elaborate on real life as well. Yea it’s a complex
that with their own aspects. So maybe question coz one of the things I was
the second part the simple existence pondering when coming up with my own
of a digital affects the way we as question was how acceptable will it be
a society remember and mourn loved to us in, well probably not right now
ones is not as separate as I first but in a few years time or in future
thought about it. Because I have to really see our digital alter egos
digital contacts that only exist as sort of a semi-detached part of
in virtual worlds. I have people I ourselves. Like if you have a rock
hardly ever see in real life but I band and you know one of the members
talk to them quite regularly and so dies and the others can continue but
they will probably feel more connected there’s only so much you can change
to me digitally then in real life. until you really have to change the
No that is a different aspect of it, name of the band because its not the
because that is about mourning and same group any more and I have seen
remembering. So yeah, absolutely but this sort of going on online where
I’m also very curious about what is there is this digital alter ego which
going to happen to these pseudonyms is somewhat separate from the peoples…
5 6
like the discussion going on with the
Stig, is it like actually one guy
driving the car or is it different F1
drivers just filling in the role and
you know playing this guy, so maybe
it’s more to theatre and acting as
well, although there is more real life
truth in it of course. I’m not sure.

7 8
Question: 1984

What is the place of religion and

spirituality within Digital Death,
to expand this slightly, what is the
ritual transfer of death ceremonies
in the virtual space and what do they
provide which is different from a
physical ritual?

9 10
Well I would say that one of the old and then dying and especially
important things of the digital realm the celebrations on Mabon, which is
is that people can be different if the autumn equinox on the 21st of
they want to be but they can also September which is coming quite soon
be themselves. Just a couple days and the Samhain celebrated on the
ago I came across an example where 31st of October broach the issue of
somebody was different. I had a very looking back on ones life and focusing
interesting conversation on Second on death and also the awareness that
Life recently where one ritual death is coming nearer each day of
participant said that he loved to be life, the interconnectedness of life
young in Second Life, meaning his and death are an important topic for
avatar being young while in real life neo-paganism and when you look at
he was already old and judging from ritual transfer to the virtual world
his small profile picture he was maybe you especially find the transfer
say sixty or so, the virtual world of lets says acts and symbols. For
suggests that someone is not as close example the establishing of the ritual
to death as he might be in bodily circle, the calling of the four
reality, so this may be an example directions, then the symbols like:
of consciously not having ritual grain being reaped and wine being
transfer, as I think the personal drunk, the door between the worlds
component of the person belongs to the being opened and so on, so actually
ritual as well because without persons I think it is a vivid combination of
ritual would not take place. actually transferring some elements
and not transferring other elements
On the other side you of course have which is the interesting part of it
strong ritual transfer in virtual when somebody chooses not to transfer
space from my field of studies, which elements and do other things and
is neo-paganism and wicca I can change them. I think the key word for
see that the wheel of the year is pagan rituals and especially pagan
celebrated with many transfer elements rituals in the virtual space dealing
in the virtual space. The celebration with death is energy and raising
of the wheel of the year focuses on energy. They explain it: the energy
the topics of being born, growing up, crosses all borders and it is sent to
fulfilling personal tasks, growing heal people mentally
11 12
and physically and it is meant to
strengthen participants and other
people for daily life as well as for
coping with mortality. Energy is seen
as keeping the person alive as well
as being given back to the universe
when someone dies, this energy is seen
as going from the bodily life to the
virtual world and back and for neo
pagans the energy concept strengthens
the validity of celebrating rituals
online because of the raised energy
uses the electronic channels which
build up the virtual world so this
is basically what I was thinking
about the question and how to combine
religious items and spirituality
issues with the digital death topic.

13 14
Dr Toni Sant
Dr Toni Sant is Director of Research
at the University of Hull’s
Scarborough School of Arts and New
Media, where he also lectures on
Performance & Creative Technologies.

He is the founder and creative

director of the MaltaMedia Online
Network, executive editor of the
Applied and Interactive Theatre Guide,
and book reviews editor for the
International Journal of Performance
Arts & Digital Media.

His research interests include the use

of the Internet in/for performance,
live art, applied theatre, interactive
multimedia, podcasting, and the
socio-cultural aspects of new
media, particularly in marginalised


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15 16
Inscribing elements of our 0100101110
consciousness in digital formats would 0110110100
seem to make for longevity of presence 10111
beyond our physical death, but is this 011010
an illusion rather than a fact?

17 18
Well, I suppose it depends how you interact with them. So its this kind
define presence really. I mean, The of one ended thing. Well… in some
example that I am thinking about most ways, looking at those things after
obviously would be facebook where a persons death is no different from
people post into facebook and even if looking at them when they are alive,
we arnt doing it often we are still especially if you are not going to try
putting things up that are about the and contribute back. So… its not an
people that we are, the things that illusion… it is a fact.
we are doing, the thoughts that we
are having so those are elements of
our consciousness and as far as I am
aware with facebook all contributions
remain in theory forever, I mean
forever is a big word but as far as
we understand forever with a system
like facebook it is forever, they
don’t delete things. People are able
to go onto facebook page and look at
things that person may have said right
at the beginning of the creation of
that account. So if someone has had
a facebook account for many years
that could be many many thousands
of contributions. Many thousands of
little slithers of consciousness, if
you like, and yes if that account is
not deleted in death than all of those
little moments will continue to exist.
Does that constitute a presence, I
think in a way it does, especially if
your experience of a person is only
via their facebook page. In many cases
when you look at people’s facebook
contributions you don’t necessarily
19 20
Niki Lambropoulos
Dr. Niki Lambropoulos is a researcher,
consultant, e-learning expert, HCI
designer, and online communities’
manager. Her interests fall in the
field of Collective Intelligence,
translated into Collaborative
E-Learning in Computer Supported
Collaborative Learning; Idea and Group
Management in Distributed Leadership;
and User Innovation Networks in
Innovation and Open Innovation.

She currenlty works as the Director of

Intelligenesis and as a Human-Computer
Interaction Education research fellow
for the EU funded project EuroCAT in


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21 22

The job of the mirror neurons in our
brain is to create the presence of the
Self as well as the co-presence of
the Other(s) in both real, digital or
any other world via empathy. If there
is such an analogy, then in what ways
the absence of one element i.e. the
absence of the Other is affecting our
view of us and our worlds?

23 24
This is a very interesting question we make of that idea, it is really
and without being too pedantically just that, they are core materialist
academically about it, I think there physical kind of processes. So
are some aspects of the question there’s some underlying presumptions
that need to be substantially and problems in the question in some
considered because as is the case capacity. Then there is also the
with an enormous amount of academic problem with the fact that that other,
discourse, the overly metaphorical however it’s construed or constituted
cross appropriation of one idea in this idea being constructed
in one domain to another in many as a digital ‘other’ because
instances kind of leads to an evolutionarily, neurophysiologically,
inappropriate understanding. In some developmentally, that actual process
instances possible trivialization is constructed prier to any overt
or misappropriation of one idea in technological mediatization of that
one domain to another. The actual relationship so the mirror neuronal
scientific research on mirror neurons relationship is constructed in
has not been emphatically linked to relationship to a care giver, now
any psychological conceptualization of there may well be some kind of process
self or identity, in many instances of mediation in that relationship
they are probably most consequentially given that then is kind of relevant
thought of as being a mechanism of to, appropriated by, some form of
environmental adaptation, they are a technological meditation but I
learning thing so that we can mimic think that kind of intracorporeal
our adaptive relationships to our intrasocial relationship is something
environment, the sort of epiphenomenal that precedes strict technological
construction or conceptualization of mediation so given all of that I’m
self in relationship to that doesn’t not quite sure how exactly to answer
have any relationship to that kind of the question but if I was to answer
mirror neuronal capacity if we were it kind of quite generally I think
going to look at Churchland’s work in obviously the lack of the other in
a kind of really strict eliminative any form of mediation makes the
materialist conceptualization of constitution of the self incredibly
neurophysiological process, whatever problematic and difficult I think the
other psychosocial embellishment more fundamental question underlying
25 26
all of this is something that I know
is essential to Stacey’s research
is what are the intrinsic questions
and problems in the technological
mediatization of these relationships
and then how would we think that
question specifically in relationship
to technology I think is the more kind
of significant or appropriate question
at stake.

27 28
Nathan Lustig
Nathan Lustig is the cofounder of, a website that helps
people make last wishes for their
digital assets. Founded in 2008,
Entrustet is a free service that lets
you create a list of all of your
digital assets (online accounts and
computer files) and then decide which
accounts you’d like deleted and which
you’d like transferred to heirs.


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29 30
Currently websites are taking a ‘hands
off’ approach toward digital death, if
they have any approach at all. What
role should companies be taking in the
future and what should their policies
toward digital death look like?

31 32
Even here in Switzerland we have had
evidence recently there is a large
number of cases coming up as the users
of facebook grow older and at some
point there will be a lot of users or
the survivors of those users causing
trouble for sites because so much data
is unavailable to the survivors. It
is easy for them to put in the terms
and conditions that they don’t bare
any responsibility because people
don’t read terms and conditions very
carefully so that this matter might
be building up behind the scenes and
there would be many legal cases being
solved in court. So perhaps individual
companies like facebook will have to
find their own individual solutions
a second possibility is companies
like that who inherit, they pass on
their access data to survivors so
that the controversy never arises,
with companies like facebook, their
survivors can merely log on using
the password data and no controversy
arises, except then of course the
survivors have to deal with the
data and whether the data is in any
understandable format, is then another

33 34
1984 1984

Will online memorials replace

cemeteries? Will they augment
cemeteries? Or will we always want
a physical place to memorialize the

35 36
I am not sure its an either or, it through all sorts of other multimedia
reminds me of course of Inyong’s contributions which you will not be
wonderful project ‘Scanned Memories,’ able to access, I think, in a physical
he’s no longer with us, but he was cemetery unless of course you have,
a PhD student from Korea and why he trees of talking posts, so in some
was interested in online memorials way, some kind of sensor activation,
was the fact that they have run out as you approach the cemetery which
of space in South Korea and according would begin to give you some kind of
to culture and also the Shahid multimedia content.
community there, it very important
on the name day to go every year to
visit the cemetery now this caused
enormous issues with traffic jams,
with the lay of the land and the fact
that in the end people couldn’t get
there and the burial grounds were
getting full. So he was particularly
interested in online memorials because
at least it would fulfill that sense
of being present on the name day, in
some way or another, so you could
say that they augment cemeteries,
in a virtual sense. I am sure that
some people would prefer a physical
place, again that would depend on a
person’s culture, location, rights
of passage. I think this might be
intergenerational, I think it will
lead to the physical context of death
but the point about the online, the
virtual memorial is the way in which
the social media should add a great
deal to the life of that person and to
the memory of that person
37 38
Roland van Rijswijk
Roland Van Rijswijk works for SURFnet,
the National Research and Education
Network in The Netherlands.

He has been active in the digital

arena since he was six years old at
the start of the 80s and has been
online since the early 90s. He has a
Master’s Degree in Computer Science.

Roland’s professional research

interests include digital security
and identity management. His personal
interests include digital photography,
modern art and making music.


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39 40
Recently there have been mentions in
the news about faked online suicides
(see for instance http://www.rhizome.
org/discuss/view/45942). People have
also been reported as having died 1984

while they were still alive (this Ahhhhhhhh!

famously happened to Steve Jobs

of Apple and even had an impact on
Apple’s share prices). This raises
some interesting questions. Firstly
should you take online announcements
of a death or of a suicide seriously?
How can you prove or disprove such
announcements? And is there such a
thing as digital suicide? If so, how
would you define it?

41 42
Well I think I am of a generation for having some degree of accuracy
that might slightly distrust online the thing that’s really interesting
announcements but on the other here is what happens if this is
hand if we think about fakes and ficticious, to answer that question
the whole issue of fakes, whether about Steve Jobs having an impact
that’s to do with people writing on apple share prices, you can only
biographies or whatever. There are speculate that that was a deliberate
some famous examples about some people act to affect the stock market. That
writing about their war experiences then raises other things about those
particularly and holocaust survivors kind of hacking interventions that
and some of these have proved to be can play havoc of course, in both the
fakes. The British museum is full of commercial and the private world.
fakes and there is the question of
how material gets authenticated and
by whom. So that also brings in the
question of an expert, but if there
is a question of a suicide then the
other thing you have to think about
is that this is still considered
illegal in some cultures particularly
those that are, how can I say heavily
Catholic orientated because it is
considered a mortal sin to take your
own life under that high religious
objection. So there are all sorts of
issues about what suicide is in any
context, and if it is in abilitous
reign then I suppose it depends on how
those portals are managed, so that is
a kind of management material issue as
to how it gets authenticated unless
it becomes like wikapedia where you
can add in material but somehow the
community does take responsibility
43 44
Michela Magas
Michela Magas graduated from the Royal
College of Art in London with an MA
in Communication Art & Design and
now juggles design consulting with
PhD research. She is co-founder of
the Stromatolite Design Lab where her
clients include Apple, Nike and Nokia.

Since 1995 Michela has been developing

ideas and innovation for product and
media, conceptual design, systems
architecture, iconography and new
education methodologies.


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45 46
On it states: “Funerals
[for the Ga tribe in coastal Ghana]
are a time of mourning, but also of
celebration. The Ga people believe
that when their loved ones die,
they move on into another life …
They honor their dead with brightly
colored coffins that celebrate the way
they lived. The coffins are designed
to represent an aspect of the dead
person’s life -- such as a car if 1984

they were a driver, a fish if their

livelihood was the sea -- or a sewing
machine for a seamstress. They might
also symbolize a vice -- such as a
bottle of beer or a cigarette.” Baring
this in mind, can digital death be the
equivalent of Ghanaian Ga coffins?

47 48
The question that comes to me is about a lot of different ways so, I think
the Ga tribe in coastal Ghana that it is incumbent on us to give this a
celebrate their death through physical bit of thought and exploration, see
manifestations and beautifully what we want to communicate, or what
decorated coffins. So the question metaphors there are for expressing
being asked is can digital death be things that we love online. There’s
the equivalent of these coffins and I certainly a lot of opportunity to
think it certainly can and should. explore whatever we want.

There’s a lot of options in the Yea, that’s a very interesting thing,

digital domain to represent yourself cultural bias about death. You know,
in a visual way, and in a lot of if we have this, this reverent state
different spiritual ways and a lot where you know the funeral home and
of different expressive ways. The the process of how we treat our dead
limitation is that there is not a people here is the only way we are
physical thing that you actually can going to see the world then that
hang on to. It really is something really closes off a lot of expression.
you can explore and that can be more I think the world is a very colourful
interactive. So, here’s a website place and we should be curious about
that has a number of pictures of the how we deal with death in the US. The
different coffins that are being developed world’s way of dealing with
represented and as some of the coffins death isn’t really the only way of
are like a dead man’s love for smoking healing, anymore than it’s the only
and his cigarette business. There is way of celebrating.
no end of expressiveness that people
can have about their lives and I think I think the Ga tribe is a very
that you can really be quite creative, interesting perspective: they put a
and ways to express and to explore. lot of time and energy into these
things. You should see these pictures.
I think this could be a very healing You know for them to say theirs is the
process because not everybody has the only way is just as ludicrous as for
same life. Similarly there’s a lot of us. You know we could have a hard time
places where the love of things, the coming up with these coffins that are
love of something can be expressed in so unique and so individualistic,
49 50
everyone should, could benefit by
being curious about how other people

51 52
Death Reference Desk
We are two librarians [Meg Holle and
Kim Anderson] and one professor of
death and dying practices [Dr. John
Troyer], geographically dispersed but
unified with dark inside. We combine
our expertise to inform the casually
interested and morbidly curious alike
about All Things Death: the bizarre,
the batty and the beautiful, from
interesting blogs and recommended
books to commentary and analysis of
death in the news.


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53 54
Is there a distinction between the
physical self and the digital self?

Or, have we and technology advanced
to the point where these distinctions
are no longer relevant? What, if any,
implications are there for NOT making
the distinction? Especially in death.

55 56
Well to begin with I am very pleased of electrons. So I think in as much
that the question doesn’t make a as atoms can decay I am not sure if
difference between a physical self that’s scientifically accurate though,
and a virtual self or a real self and electrons are harder, I don’t know you
a virtual self. That is to say for can split an atom but can you split
me the physical self and the digital an electron, I mean I don’t know, I
self are both real. So with death what should look that up probably…
changes is reality, reality changes
but it doesn’t cease to be, so in that
way I think the distinction between
the physical self and the digital self
is a different one then one between
something that’s living and something
that’s not necessarily living. In a
sense that both the physical self and
the digital self are living selves
and also because they are both real
selves, now also at the same time they
can also be not necessarily real in
a sense that the digital self can be
a made up self and the physical self
can be a self that is performed even
though one could argue that every self
is performed in some sense or other.

So, I think to really unpack this idea

of the physical self and the digital
self we have to take them in relation
to life and death but also in relation
to what’s real and what’s not real and
what’s virtual and what’s physical,
in relation also to the idea that the
physical self is made of atoms whereas
the digital self is made
57 58
Question: 1984
1984 1984

Facebook allows the family of deceased

users to put these profiles into
memorial mode. Given Facebook’s
potential longevity, at some point 1984
1984 1984

the population of the dead will exceed

that of the living. Does Facebook have
a moral obligation to maintain these
1984 1984
1984 1984 1984

59 60
So… well that interesting, I’m not maybe its not so I mean there has to
sure if there is a moral obligation to be some kind of way or system to do
do that because … There’s not really that or some kind of argument why you
a morel obligation to maintain any of want to keep it there? If you provide
those profiles. You are not actually the option to create a memorial there
paying for it, you sign on and then must be some kind of protocol that you
make a profile and if you are not can follow or some rule… I don’t know?
maintaining it yourself why should
you have them kept up just because you
put it in memorial mode. I am not sure
they have any responsibility for that.

I mean, if people would pay for it

or if people have like an actual
graveyard or a cremation centre you
pay those people to maintain the grave
and you don’t do that with Facebook
you make a profile and then if you die
you put it on to memorial mode.

I mean there are actual memorial

websites which you have to pay for
like for a real grave and as long as
you pay for it they have to keep the
memorial on. I mean, I am not sure
where the moral part is?

But there has to be some kind of

contact person that they could send an
e-mail or some kind of notification
that they want to remove that memorial
site because no one is visiting it for
maybe a year and then that contact
person could say ‘yes that ok’ or
61 62
If you die and the Internet doesn’t
notice, do you have die again and

63 64
Oh my gosh, if you die and the Part of it is like a negative, so and
internet doesn’t know, this is so so hasn’t shown up on whatever they
interesting, if you die and the haven’t shown up on you know, Skype,
internet doesn’t notice do you have msn messenger, twitter, facebook
to die again and again. I will just or whatever there is a removal of
tell you right off the bat what my something, something stops, somebody
mind goes with it. It was from the doesn’t show their digital face. But
movie ‘When Harry met Sally’ that film the positive side if someone is dead
from the 80s and they are talking the obituary or notification gets
in the car, and he’s saying “what posted in the newspaper, then somebody
if you go to New York and you don’t finds that and it kind of goes viral
do anything and nothing happens to in terms of the persons friends and
you and then you die one of those family from there but I am sure there
New York deaths where nobody notices are instances in which, I think in
until the smell drifts into the these days if the internet doesn’t
hallway’ and I was thinking what is notice, then that’s a different
the internet equivalent of the smell question than if the people that you
drifting into the hallway. You can communicate with on the internet don’t
draw that analogy, ok so a New York notice.
death how do they figure it out, it’s
not just the smell drifting through What does it mean when they say
the hallway it might be the newspapers the internet doesn’t notice? Does
piling up outside the door, the post that mean the internet community,
piling up outside the door or the does that mean the information that
fact that someone says oh so and so comes up when you Google yourself or
hasn’t come out, or gone down to the when you Google a particular person
corner lately. Or when was the last because that’s different. Because
time you saw them open their door, if somebody has died, their internet
so that those more tangible kinds of community knowing about it, or finding
things that might alert somebody in out about it, or figuring it out or
the actual kind of physical world communicating about it, that feels
that actually somebody isn’t around different than Googling that person’s
anymore. What are the digital, name and being able to find out that
internet correlates of that? they are dead. Ones presence is
65 66
expected ones presence as constituted are talking about now is a little bit
by ones responsiveness. This is the different then that, it’s not just
internet equivalent, ok, this is about what we are doing its about what
the digital equivalent of like ‘you we are, its what we are becoming its
hold the mirror up to somebody’s about this digital side of ourselves
mouth and if you see there is fog being so much an integral part, that
on it you know they are breathing there’s a feeling of wrongness if you
and they are still alive’ and so you are not tele-present all the time if
send an email to somebody, you send you are not available in that way all
a message on facebook your kind of the time, and so it’s not just about
holding that mirror up and seeing if what we are doing, we are doing too
you get the fog back and if you don’t much of this we are involved to much
get the fog back. So its so funny with that. I get that feeling like I
because that absence, that tele- had when I signed on to my twitter
absence is not acceptable. Even on today (I am on holiday) and I thought
holiday, here I am I’m technically do I really want to be doing this?
on holiday and I’m chatting to you But I have no doubt that probably in a
and its expected that I am tele- year or two from now that twitter bit
present still and I feel obligated of me might be so integrated into my
to be tele-present to a number of life, into my presence into the world
people in a number of different ways. it’s no longer what I’m doing what I’m
There’s a vague feeling amongst some choosing to do, its just enveloped
people these days that tele-absence into how I’m being or how I am, you
isn’t acceptable and if you are tele- know?
absent then somebody’s going to think
that something’s wrong, I mean my I read an essay the other day called
God where are they?! There they are ‘a hundred fears of solitude’ it was
holding up the mirror to see if you in the last issue of Granta and this
are breathing. People always talk guy was leading into it by talking
about being too busy or too bombarded about how when he was at university
or too connected all the time and which wasn’t a long time ago twenty
there is something fundamentally wrong years or so he talked about how its
with that or worrying about that or was possible to be silent, how it was
whatever. But I think that what we possible to be disconnected if you
67 68
wanted to talk to somebody you had to it, because it’s becoming more and
walk across campus and hope you more part of our being it’s not what
found them in and as you walked to we are doing it’s what we are.
your friends door there was the great
potential for solitude, contemplation
and great silence. These days if you
go to the university campus everybody
is wired up to the teeth and they are
in contact all the time and he was
thinking about this and how solitude
wasn’t possible anymore and I think
its a human given its an existential
given that we are always being with
others in the world and Heidegger
talks about this ‘being with others in
the world’ and this is not a condition
you can check in and out of and you
can say oh I am just not going to
be with other people in the world
now or now yes I am going to be with
other people in the world that’s not
a choice it’s an existential given
that is the case all the time but
of course Heidegger didn’t have any
inkling of this level of technology
he was concerned about television and
he thought television had “abolished
every possibility of remoteness”
which is a quote of his and this is
a hundred, a thousand times that now
and I often wonder what a philosopher
like Martin Heidegger would think of
this level of being with others in the
world and how he would characterise
69 70
Dr. Elaine Kasket
(London Metropolitan
I am a senior lecturer in Counselling
Psychology and a psychotherapist in
private practice. My main research
interests have to do with death and
dying; I have investigated physicians’
emotional responses to their
patients’ deaths and am currently
researching mourning and continuing
communication on Facebook with people
who have died.


contact me

71 72
When I talk about my Facebook
research, many people are unsettled
- they seem to feel that when someone
continues to interact with a person’s
digital persona after the actual
person has died, it’s pathological
in some way - it says something
concerning about the person (they’re
in denial), or something worrying
about our technologically-mediated
society (that people are carrying on
a relationship or a communication
via the person’s digital persona). Is
their concern well founded?

73 74
NIKI LAMBROPOULOS {A: Niki Lambropoulos
One of my uncles died recently, a dead, then the one who wants the
dearest one, like in June and I’ve communication back might get angry
never experienced this thing in my as well as trying to communicate and
family before so I’m quite close to being in denial, so its probably
what this person says about being in similar and its probably more then one
denial because a lot of people in my feeling. There may be many feelings
family were in denial of accepting his all together, coming and going, or
death and looking, you know, towards simultaneously. I don’t think its
the door to see whether he would be pathological because I checked for the
in, coming in or having the photo real death, right? Psychologically
around or everything and I think, yes speaking its completely justified and
their concern is well founded because if we keep the analogy for digital
it’s quite similar to what happens death, then in my opinion I don’t
in real life … so … people, I think think its pathological. Perhaps its
people create attachments in a way normal to a certain extent, like
this is how the world is created, everything in life I suppose. So it
we are related to each other, we are might be ok to communicate, to keep
connected to each other, so when a trying to communicate but if this
person dies, either digitally or person keeps trying to communicate
really, or just hangs up the phone after a year or after you know some
and moves somewhere else or whatever, time that’s not logical then perhaps
its absence as well. So I think that it gets pathological rather then
there is loss in our world anyway, a normal. So perhaps there is kind of
kind of feeling of loss and absence a thin line between the two, a limit
in one of our connections in a way. So or something, but I’m not the one, I
perhaps we will keep trying to keep don’t know there may be more work or
this connection, this link we have but research about it I don’t know.
perhaps its not possible, however we
don’t realize that. I’m just thinking
that, that’s how I see it but perhaps
my mum would see it differently like,
I dunno, probably she get some anger
as well, so perhaps if a person does
not communicate although its digitally
75 76

77 78
The future of cloud computing is
hazy. Younger generations will be
putting lots of personal infomation
on online “safes”, and will need
to work out how to transfer it to
alternative providers if and when the
first provider proves inadequate.
Considering this, what provisions
are made by providers of Digital
Death Websites for preservation of
clients’ data and continuation of
the fulfillment of clients’ wishes
in case of the original provider’s
non-performance due to bankruptcy,
for instance? What about setting up
a providers’ association to ensure
compatibility and continuity?

79 80
Its actually a pretty good question. Facebook message, all these different
We get that all the time, so, I know sorts of things. There is even another
what we are doing but I don’t know one out there that will attempt to
what other people are doing. We get hack into a dead person’s online
this question a lot what happens if account if a survivor wants you to
your site goes out of business, we get do it. So that’s why I think if you
questions about whether were going get all the different providers of
to be around when someone needs to services, it might be tough to make
have access to the data. What we have sure that compatibility would actually
come up with is we have put in place work because everyone’s approaching it
a portion of our investors money into from a different angle and no one’s
a separate account and because our going with it in the exact same way.
site is so cheap to actually run we The idea of a providers association
have a two year runway to have all the to ensure compatibility sounds really
servers and keep all the data secure interesting. It would be tough to get
so that if we do go out of business all the providers to do it, but if you
we will have access to be able to could do it, it would make sense.
give all the data back to the people
who had put it in and would delete
it after the two year period. Within
that two year period we would have
taken all that data out and put it in
another secure place if we were not
going to be around anymore. There are
a lot of different companies that are
approaching the ideas of what happens
to you digital stuff when you die,
from all sorts of different angles.
There are companies like us who are
letting you put your user names and
passwords in and say what you want
with your stuff when you die, there
are also companies allowing you to set
up your last tweet or your last
81 82
Yolanda Kading RGN
Yolanda is a Palliative Home Care
Nurse at The Cyprus Association of
Cancer Patients and Friends.

The Cyprus Association of Cancer

Patients and Friends was founded
in 1986, at a time when cancer was
still considered to be a curse, an
incurable and frightening disease
among the Cypriot population. The
association was set up by a small but
pioneering group of women, all of whom
had already experienced cancer in one
way or another. The associations aim
was and continues to be: to disperse
the taboo and fear surrounding cancer
and thus provide quality care to
cancer sufferers within the Cypriot


83 84
Following the death of a teenager at
my sons’ school. His freinds put
together a Facebook page entitled R.I.P R.I.P R.I.P
“RIP + his name.” Although part of
me felt that it was a good way to
honour his memory, allowing people
to post comments and thoughts,I was
very concerned about the effect that
some of the comments may have had on
his family. I guess that it’s a way
of paying tribute to someone but it
bothered me that he wasn’t around to
give his permission for what seemed
like a very public free for all. All
in all it was very distressing for
everyone. My question is who controls
such postings and do the next of kin
have to give permission to allow such
a page to be opened.

85 86
This is a really interesting question the sites very carefully I think. I
and I am going to take the last bit am not sure that it is that common
of it first. The person who controls for older generation members of the
those postings on a memory site is family, parents, aunts, uncles,
the person or the people who have grandparents etc to get access to
decided to set the site up, ie the those pages unless somebody alerts
administrators of the site and these them to the presence of them. People
are actually the people I interviewed aren’t quite recognizing that what
in my research, my facebook research is happening on facebook in digital
about their experience of being writing is the same thing that has
administrators of in memory sites. always happened. People have always
The next of kin do not have to have shown up at funeral homes and funerals
permission for that page to be opened and said inappropriate things, people
in fact what sometimes happens is have always competed for the role of
different groups of friends almost chief mourner and like ‘oh no she
like rival factions will set up of in was really important to me’ and ‘how
memory sites and sometimes that causes dare you’, all that kind of stuff. It
problems because one group of friends hasn’t been as public and as easily
says ‘oh I’m really upset because available and accessible to everyone.
everybody’s going to her memory site You know somebody might make a comment
and going away from our memory site at a funeral and people hear it and
that we set up for our friend’ and so they say oh my gosh you know that’s
the relatives next of kin don’t have really inappropriate and then its gone
to give any permission what so ever. into the either whereas on facebook if
You can be a complete stranger and set somebody doesn’t take it down - there
up an in memory of site on facebook it is. So it has a little bit more
for somebody who has died. permanence. But in some ways I feel
it is not much different from what has
In my experience the administrators of always happened its just a little bit
those sites, were more often than not more permanent and visible or it has
close friends or relatives, cousin’s, more potential to make an impact than
siblings, they will remove or take some passing comment that somebody
away comments they don’t think are might make at a funeral or wake or
appropriate so they tend to police something of course anytime
87 88
anybody dies they are not around was the form they were being made the
to give permission and this is the facebook form or what in particular it
younger generation who often at times is that was especially problematic,
the in memory sites get posted on especially distressing because a lot
facebook for younger people, often of people who I interviewed for my
people who weren’t expecting to die facebook research said that the family
and they weren’t in a place in their found it really, really comforting
lives to say this is what I want to and found it really lovely to see all
happen after my death this is how I the sentiments and the thoughts and
want to be memorialised they haven’t comments and memories that everybody
got to that place yet they don’t do posted on, this in memory group and
that, but nobody ever has any control this is actually the first time I’ve
or is around to give permission for encountered this description of this
what happens after their deaths and a kind of memory site being “distressing
lot of times some relatives or some “ for everyone, I haven’t come
friends are around saying he wouldn’t across this yet. I think one of the
have wanted this or she wouldn’t have fascinating, mysterious or noteworthy
wanted this or this isn’t appropriate things about this phenomenon of
or whatever it is, but the whole facebook in general. Not just as
facebook thing for one it opens it up regards death but as regards society
to a much wider segment of the public as a whole is that more and more we
as these in memory groups are almost are interacting with these virtual
always free to anybody who wishes others and telepresent people, yea we
to join so somebody might have had might know them in real life but we
three hundred friends in life on their might ‘see’ or ‘hear’ a lot more from
profile itself and “one thousand” them via facebook or Skype or whatever
friends in death on their in memory else rather than actually physically
page that somebody sets up. So it is being there with them and that in
very public. So but “all in all it was itself is unsettling for some people,
very distressing for everyone” I’m that this is the way we are going as
wondering who the everyone was, I’m a society and as individuals and when
wondering what the comments were, it that phenomenon caries through into
depends so much on…. Im not sure if it death and we carry on interacting with
was the comments themselves or this that digital person or telepresent
89 90
person rather than necessarily showing
up. I can see in a way the people who
are uneasy with what is happening with
the facebook phenomena about death and
everything might possibly be the same
people who are unsettled by the impact
such phenomena, such technology is
having in life.

91 92
Ahmet Sekercioglu
Dr. Ahmet Sekercioglu is a member of
the academic staff at the Department
of Electrical and Computer Systems
Engineering of Monash University,
Melbourne, Australia. He was the
leader of the Applications Program
of Australian Telecommunications CRC
until the completion of the centre’s
research activities (December 2007).

Prior to his academic career, he held

numerous positions as a research
engineer in private industry. He has
published 14 journal articles, 2 book
chapters, 56 conference papers and has
filed 2 patents.

His recent research is in distributed

algorithms for self-organization in
wireless networks. He is also working
in the application of intelligent
control techniques for multiservice
networks as complex, distributed


93 94
Im still here! Im still here! Im still here!
1984 1984 1984

Why do we exist?

95 96
The easiest answer to ‘why do we The other reason we exist is we exist
exist’ is because we humans have to die oddly if it makes any sense
decided to and why we exist right now because of course the reason we have
hinges upon what this ‘we’ is? who an existence is because it ends and if
is this ‘we’? There was an American there is an end to the existence than
comedy programme called the Lone its something else different to what
Ranger, there is a cowboy and he was we think of it as being.
almost killed by a group of bandits
and then he was saved by this Native
American figure named Tanto and he
goes on to do good and justice and
he shoots bad people with silver
bullets. So he and Tanto where on
their horses one time and there was
this large group of Indians coming
towards them on horses and they know
they are going to die and they are
wondering and he turns to Tanto and
says “Well Tanto, it’s been good
knowing you but looks like we’re gonna
die” and Tonto goes “What do you mean
we white man” and I think its that
question who is the we? That becomes
key because humans have decided that
‘we’ are the ‘we’, if you will in all
of this and that the reason we exist
is because we have decided that we do
and that once another new definition
of what constitutes the human comes
about I think the current form we are
in right now will no longer exist we
will become something else. That’s
inevitable but its also beyond our
comprehension of when that will occur.
97 98
Richard Banks
Richard Banks is a senior interaction
designer for Microsoft Research in
Cambridge, UK. He’s part of a team
that spends most of its time looking
at family life, trying to understand
the complexities of home, in order to
figure out how the digital should fit
in appropriately. He has a particular
interest in how digital artifacts
change hands when people pass away.
Richard joined Microsoft after
graduating from the Royal College of
Art in London. Since then he’s worked
as a design manager in Seattle on
Microsoft’s Office, Windows and MSN
products before moving home and into
research a number of years ago.


contact me

99 100
How are digital and physical heirlooms
different and the same when it comes
to sentimentality and reminiscing?

101 102
The key between the digital and of touch or tactility however what I
physical heirloom idea, which would say is that becomes in the next
in a sense means you can have step where the digital object is not
the same object in two different just a photo but you are actually
representational forms is this: that able to reproduce it, in a way that
the physical heirloom as regard doesn’t take any real time or money or
sentimentality and reminiscing still even work so that you can have that
has a tactical quality to it so you object wherever you go, you can carry
can still touch it, you can still feel the object with you on your phone as
it, you can still handle it and that one example or keep then online and
actually is something that we humans look whenever you want to, of a kind
for a long time actually have enjoyed of object experience of a person who
in terms of remembering somebody who has died and we actually already have
has died or actually even a past these kinds of technology, in terms of
experience, that object that we can 3D printing, where you can actually
look at sometimes even smell to have put the photo in the printer and the
a kind of sensory experience of what 3D object is printed, now its not an
has occurred in the past where as now exact replica because things are a
in terms of the digital object for little different but never the less,
both sentimentality and reminiscing it this becomes the first generation of
exists right now at least, purely in what those objects will become. Where
the realm of the represented object we are right now is in a transition
usually in the form of a photo but it period between the two and the digital
could also be a song, this is another heirloom needs the entire past human
thing too, which you could have a kind history of the physical heirloom to
listening experience. But we will go know where to go or give, people
back to just the photo, so the photo working in these fields an idea of
itself as an object is something what to try and create or produce,
we can look at and have a visual because people will use it they will
experience with that triggers in our want it once it is there, especially
brain memories of what has gone on but for funerals.
it is not a tactile experience per say
and there are people who will argue
with this as to what is the nature
103 104
Peregrine Andrews
Peregrine Andrews is a radio
producer and sound designer. He was
recently involved in the production
of i-shrine (BBC Radio 4), a radio
documentery which discussed issues of
death and morning in the online space:
broadcast on the 21st May 2010.


contact me

105 106
In an age where so much of what
we do is recorded in some way,
possibly forever, what place
does forgetting have? (I.e.
when is it better to forget?)

107 108
There is this school in psychology the unconscious level. The mind I feel
called Jung, Jung spoke about two its gonna peak at the end it doesn’t
types of memory. The present memory matter how much information we have
and the memory of our ancestors and it will the select the information it
that’s the archetypes its kind of like would like to remember and forgetting
we carry within our genes images and again or remembering again it’s a
dreams that maybe they don’t really part of what information you would
belong to us but they belong to our really like to retain although
ancestors and that’s what we call the information will be just there
social consciousness and it is with available at the end I feel it will
this information that we have that balance.
is being recorded in some way and all
of it is recorded, it will be much
more difficult to escape from the
subconscious level of having this
information coming up again and again.
So, its like an automatic reminder of
our past that maybe we would like to
forget but we are not able to.

So forgetting, it depends on how we

use the cues of the information we
have but its much easier to retain
information as I feel it and to bring
up from the subconscious level to the
conscious level using the information
as cues to bring us back to those
memories. Its like dreams, when we see
dreams we exactly don’t remember the
whole situation we might take it from
different stimulators we remember from
the dream and that stimulator will get
us into the more conscious level of
the memories that we have instead of
109 110
Prof. Janis jefferies
Janis Jefferies is is an artist,
writer and curator, Professor of
Visual Arts in the Department of
Computing, Goldsmiths University of
London,Director of thte Constance
Howard Resource and Research Centre
in Textiles and Artistic Director of
Goldsmiths Digital Studios.

GDS is dedicated to collaborations

among practicing artists, cultural and
media theorists, and innovators in
computational media,who together are
expanding the boundaries of artistic
practice, forging the future of
digital technologies and developing
new understanding of the interactions
between technology and society

111 112
1984 1984

What do we choose to remember--and to
forget? How are collective memories
formed? How are memories revised and
shaped by the media used to present
them? 1984 1984

113 114
Well the first question what do we concern and this isn’t a new one is
chose to remember and forget, that is the dependence that some people are
really interesting because I think beginning to have on whatever the
that there’s a bit of a problem some device they use in order to remember
people are having now individuals say, events they think they should kind
in the first world North America, of remember without a backup device
Europe and the UK is that there is a for example being able to always pull
problem in which they don’t know any up a video of an event say something
longer what to choose to remember and important like your kids talking
what to forget or they are having for the first time or walking, or a
a problem actually remembering the funeral eulogy. An individual becomes
things they should remember and dependant on that device to feel like
an inability to forget the things he or she can actually remember what
that probably don’t really matter. it was about, as opposed to feeling
There’s become such an overload of comfortable with their memory even
information and so many people have though everyone knows memories are of
become dependent on continually course fallible and things change and
using whatever device they use for things happen over time and it becomes
information for email or looking at something else and you may actually
the news that they are going through believe something to be actually true
everything and reading everything but but if you go back and look it’s not
they are not remembering any of it, I this at all. So I think there is a
have a hunch I don’t know but I have growing insecurity on the authenticity
a hunch this is spilling over into of the memory that is growing
people’s everyday lives, it’s not like dependant on the actual recording of
they are forgetting say appointments it through whatever device is being
where they have to meet someone, but used. Even then I am not sure in
I think they are forgetting events fact its going to assist memory, in
things that have occurred. part because of course, what you are
The last part of the question, that’s looking at is some device re-showing
been asked is how memories are revised some event that occurred in say video
and shaped by the media used to form, which may not be what actually
present them. are and immediate ways happened either and those kinds of
to present them. I think the growing representations themselves can come
115 116
with a certain certainty. representing what we are seeing in
And that gets to the last part which visual form that could be reproducible
is how are collective memories formed, and made more quickly into a painting,
well I that’s the big question now. this has altered the very idea of what
What is the collective memory; I human memory is capable of and in fact
will give you one classic example of there are a lot of people who would
this in the American context which argue that in fact human memory began
there has always been since September its great descent, when finally things
11 2001 a big push to discuss the were put in visual form as opposed
collective memory of 9/11 for America to having to understand it and think
and there is no collective memory of it through it terms of its narrative
9/11 for America, people had very form.
different kinds of reactions at that
time and continued to have different
reactions and in fact the reactions
and attitudes and concepts of what
occurred on that day have continued
to striate and have become polarised
than they were initially. I think the
very idea of the collective memory is
now is formed zero kind of opposition
between what it is and what it is not
which exists simultaneously so it
is both this and not this. In part
because you find people who have both
conflicting ideas all the time and
that has a lot to do with politics
and what goes on with the idea of the
nation. Memory is a big ongoing issue
and humans have been tinkering with
this for at least well before the 19th
century but certainly we came up with
early forms of photography and the
geriotypes and the idea of
117 118
Rob Walker
Rob Walker is a journalist who writes
about consumer behaviour, Internet
culture, and other subjects. He writes
a popular article for the New York
Times Magazine called ”Consumed” and
his recently published works include:
“Buying In” a book which is an
overview of branding and the evolving
relationship between brands and the


119 120


One thing that motivated me to
get interested in the subject
in the first place was the idea
of “too much evidence” -- is it
possible that we leave behind such
overwhelming amounts of minutia
that it may actually be harder for
the historical researchers of the
future to understand who we were?

121 122
My background is basically in product cameras so we can take thousands of
design, the design of physical things shots and just record as much as we
and I moved gradually into interaction like. So this is actually a tremendous
design which is the design of digital opportunity so when my grandfather
things and so one of the things I died a few years ago he left behind a
am fascinated by is what is the suitcase full of analogue photos and
difference between our experience there were only 200, maybe 300 photos
with physical artefacts and the way in different envelopes, luckily a lot
we leave them behind and the way of them had dates and places on them
other people inherit them and digital which is quite rare for those things,
artifacts all these things we collect it gave me this very kind of narrow
on our hard drives we collect on DVDs insight into his life and where he
and we put up in the cloud and how spent his time and who he spent his
will those be inherited and I think time with and I would have wished that
for me there is no question that one there was an awful lot more about him
of the big differentiates between particularly what mattered to him
the physical things and the digital in his life before I was born. I was
things is the amount of stuff we are born the year before he was retired
collecting. The physical things, for so I knew him very much as a retired
example, are constrained in the amount person. So, if he was living a life
of space we have in our homes, so a now, I think there would be a lot more
lot of us have boxes in our basements digital stuff about him so digital
and boxes in our lofts that contain photos taken by him or off him and his
physical things that we cant bring digital life online even his records
ourselves to throw away, they are of his services and where he lived etc
very precious to us but eventually that would tell me a lot more about
we fill up these spaces and we have the way he lived than I would have
to make these kind of hard decisions got in the past. The issue is then
about what we keep and what we get of course, how you manage all this
rid of and we are not forced to do content and I think one of the ways
that with digital things, When we take in which our relationship to a lot of
shots with a digital camera we are not this content that is left behind when
forced to pay for every single shot as we pass away will change is that we
we used to have to with analogue cant experience it all, in the way we
123 124
were able to with analogue content. and understand a person’s life and
actually I think to some extent
I could sit down with my grandfathers certainly as far as digital things are
photos and flip through his 200 photos concerned, as a researcher I’d rather
and really study and think about them. have too much stuff to go through
I realize that if I carry on taking that can tell me an awful lot about a
photos at the rate I do my daughter person or give me a lot of ammunition
will inherit about 200 000 digital to reassemble a person’s life than a
photos from me and I don’t expect lot less content. So as far as digital
her to sit down and go through every content is going for example, we have
single one of those and it means that a team in Cambridge that works on
our relationship with all that content machine learning so all about how the
becomes more serendipities. The really computer itself can be used as a tool
amazing thing about digital content to make sense of different content
is you can take 200, 000 photos and and reassemble content and bring to
put them all on random and have an a persons attention things that might
experience with that content that matter to you vs things that might
is kind of spontaneous and draws up matter less so I think there are a
memories that are more unexpected so lot of room for digital tools to be
there are really things you can do built that allow researchers to dig
with digital content that makes that in, vertically into content instead of
experience with them quite a rich, just kind of skimming over the top of
and unexpected compared to how we this vast amount of digital data.
might have had those experiences with
analogue content.

Now when it comes to actual research

that of course is a kind of a
personal experience of the person
that you know. When it comes to actual
research I think to some extent the
question is: what are the tools and
technologies that researchers of the
future might use to reassemble
125 126
Dr. Britta Rensing
Britta Rensing was born in Cologne,
Germany where she studied English
Literature and Language and Religious
Studies at the University of Cologne,
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-
University of Bonn and Friedrich-
Schiller-University of Jena. PhD in
Religious Studies at the Friedrich-
Schiller-University of Jena. Fields
of study / lectures on neopaganism,
wicca, asian ghost movies.


127 128
How do you think people
imagine themselves dying,
in the modern Digital Age?

129 130
I would imagine that some people It gives people a voice I guess, a
perhaps imagine themselves living public voice but also it gives people
on, in the digital age. It brings to access to information which perhaps,
mind the question of where does it well which wasn’t available to people
all stop and when do people call it a years ago so they are more alert and
day, after the death of someone. With aware about what might happen to
something like Facebook in mind which them, what might be round the corner.
is very personal to me as a Facebook There is so much out there for them
addict almost, I wonder when after the to access. But what really rings
death of someone when this does this in my mind is the not feeling that
information get taken off Facebook, you are so alone, but also the way
and who is it that decides when to somebody might be affected once they
call it a day? cant access the computer any more. Um
whilst they are in a position.. if
I don’t necessarily think that the somebody is dying and in a position to
digital age. It certainly hasn’t use the computer I would imagine they
affected my concept of death and will feel they are not alone, but once
dying and I don’t really think it they cant access the computer then
enters into it. I think the digital perhaps it’s a premature death for
age um has given people the ability them a premature morning a morning for
to go through the dying process more them as well.
publically and perhaps to feel that
they are not so alone. In that they
can put postings on the computer for
other people all over the world to see
and for their friends to see and even
if they cant get out and cant leave
their bed if they have the ability to
use the computer or to get somebody
else to use it for them then they can
share what they are going through more
easily and plus I guess they can post
photographs of themselves and feel
that they are not so alone
131 132
Esther Makaay
Creative by nature, a philosopher at
heart and (techno)logic in mind, I
enjoy my front row seat of Internet
history by working on new business
development at SIDN, the Dutch
registry for the .nl-domain.

contact me

133 134
The analogy to “if your house burned
down, and there’s one thing (not
person or pet) you could save, what
would it be?” So the analogy follows,
that if the Internet burned down,
and there was one specific thing you 1984

could save/rescue, what would that 0100011001

be? (Answers might consist of an Ahhhhhhhh
account to a social networking site,
the e-mail to a specific address,
the digital photo’s you publish
somewhere, your address-book, but not
everything, like ‘my digital backup’.)

135 136
I guess there is two ways of thinking also just projects that are not so
about this, one is a less interesting much about me as about, well they
short term way, you know if, if you are about me but they are work that
told me the internet was going to burn I’ve done as opposed to just like my
down right now I would want to sort of personal photographs or you know I
protect my email because it’s a lot of have a Facebook account and all that
live communication that is still going kinda stuff but I have very little
on there that I would be in trouble there that I would be to terribly
if I lost but… I think that probably heartbroken to lose, so I guess it’s
the more interesting thing would be…, a kind of a traditional answer, in
I am an unusual case I guess because that I want work to survive as opposed
I am a writer I have a lot of finished to, as opposed to personal stuff.
public published works online like at Personal stuff I would probably, if I
the New York Times site and some other ever get my act together would see to
sites but in particular probably the it in fact, that it doesn’t survive
finished work, the published work, on me. I just want the work that I feel
the Times site I would like that to ah like has been, the stuff that I feel
survive and the personal projects is a like has been really thought through,
difficult one, there is a project that vetted and well while it may be less
I am involved in that I am involved in personal, its more important to me
actually called significant objects that that stuff survive.
that’s about, its sort of fiction
it’s about thrift store objects and I
would like that probably of the work
that I have done of the stuff that I
have done that isn’t sort of you know
residing on a mainstream publication
website that is probably the thing
that I would most like to survive
but it would be a pretty tough call.
because there is some other personal,
you know but all of this is more work
related stuff, like and work meaning
both what I do for a living, but
137 138
John’s main focus, at present, is
the development of a new approach to
design practice: ‘metadesign’.

John’s first job at Goldsmiths was

Deputy Head of the Fine Art Department
(from 1978-1988). After ten years he
co-wrote, and ran, an unusually broad,
reflective and ethically oriented
BA(Hons) degree in design. This
programme helped to launch the current
Department of Design.

John has published over 100 papers

and articles on ethics and design
in the age of over consumption. His
first book, ‘The Virtual Embodied’
(Routledge, 1998) explored the ethical
implications of different types
of situated practice and his most
recent book “The Design of Micro-
Utopias; thinking beyond the possible”
(Ashgate, 2007) suggests that we can
govern ourselves better using ‘design


contact me

139 140
They have just discovered a new star
[sun] that is 250 times bigger than
any they thought to be physically
possible...can a deeper awareness/
empathy with the vast universe,
through the sharing of oneself and the
virtual embodiment enabled through

the mass of digital networks, make

the idea of one’s own physical death
seem less like a tragic erasure of
ego, and more like a privileged
submersion into an ancestral ocean?

141 142
What is that?! I need to think
carefully now… I think eh. What I
am thinking is, its definitely... I
don’t agree with that. I, I think that
physical death is definitely a tragic
erasure of ego, I don’t care about
getting submerged into an ancestral
ocean because I won’t be aware of it
anyway, therefore I disagree. Um,
that’s my thought at the moment.

At least theoretically it is possible.

Yes I think it is theoretically
possible that human body will become
less important in the future that
you just store your consciousness
into a medium which will be… wont die
basically and will refresh itself
somehow through some kind of energy
source. Would that be…. would that
be…. make the physical death redundant
or less like a tragic erasure of ego?
It is possible Yes Yes it is possible.
but we are long long way away from
that, maybe a thousand years.

143 144
Niels de jong
Niels de Jong is a Research Masters
student in Groningen, The Netherlands.
His main focus is religion and
modernity, specialising in
Christianity in Western-Europe.

In his academic future he would like

to write his master thesis on David
Icke, a conspiracy theorist who
spreads his ideas mainly through the
Internet but also organizes a lot of
seminars to which all kinds of people
are drawn.

Furthermore on a personal level, he

like to read (currently reading Anna
Karenina by Leo Tolstoy) and listen
to music (metal, blues, jazz, reggea
etc.) Play the MMOG Travian and play
‘real-life’ RISK with friends.

145 146
Is it possible to draw any parallels
between recent developments in the
music industry regarding something
people like to call ‘fusion’, a
mixture of musical styles which
doesn’t represent a single genre and
the boom of Internet data that creates
mass de-contextualization of personal
data. As with the example of ‘fusion’
music is there anything perhaps to be
gained from engaging in this ‘rich’

147 148
The whole of the internet is already a a cliché..) but that’s how it is..
data fusion, I mean that’s the whole so if you collate the lot, you see
principle of the whole thing. In many how this person sees themselves in
ways I think the idea of the fusion terms of one and not the other. There
in music happened more as a result of is a personality fusion that happens
the data fusion that was enabled by between all those different portals.
technologies as opposed to the other So from the stuff that you leave
way round, as fusion always happens at behind there will be bits that apply
the crossover of cultures. One of to different parts of your life, that
the best things that happened in are quite different. But that again I
Britain was the integration of second think is a reflection of this medium -
generation Punjabi culture into its whatever you try and draw out of
western music and some great stuff people, how it’s installed in the
has emerged out of that. So things at first place: the tools kind of
those junctions.. things always end up dictate, the tools kind of inform
very interesting.. but the whole of you as to what they want from you
the world wide web concept is that, as well.. so how is that going to
intrinsicly. So is there anything to reflect? There is more of a fusion
be gained? Well, everything really - going on than just the few key
it’s everything that we’ve done and pointers that some of these available
that we know and that we’ve based our tools show about a person.. there’s
lives on in recent times really, that more then that and it would be really
has been a result of the fusion. interesting to see, if you started
with this in mind (started creating a
There is a fusion of the different fusion personality - started creating
personalities that you have left a fusion of different tools that will
behind (famously we do generate enable a personality to show different
personalities for each type of aspects of oneself in one place) how
application: it requires us to that would look, because you are so
generate a personality) and depending limited by what you are asked to be
on what that application is for, you in different places on the web, you
will be a different person on facebook almost sort of have to conform to be
(famously) then you are on Linkedin a particular type or... Just think of
for instance, (I mean - that’s like the rubbish interface on LinkedIn
149 150
(am I allowed to say rubbish without
someone throwing a libel case at me?
:)) I mean its completely hopeless,
you have to be the good boy who is
employed, who has regular jobs from
this date to that date, otherwise you
don’t fit in.. so even people who
don’t have anything of the sort.. they
tend to box themselves into something
in order to actually be on that site.
So you end up with a fusion of stuff
that’s almost like “boxy things”..
so what kind of fusion are you going
to get out of that? :) It would be
an interesting thing to look at what
would genuinely create a fusion, a
digital fusion. What would that really
look like?.. I think it would be an
interesting thing to look at.. so I
mean, its not a rich mix with the
tools that we have available at the

151 152
Duncan fairfax
Duncan lectures on the MA Design
Critical Practice, and MRes in Design
at Goldsmiths. He is also the PhD
research associate on the “Mediatised
View” research project that is part
of the larger Leverhulme funded
Goldsmiths research programme on the
“Future of Media.”

His research interests include the

limitations and contraints of the
“productivist metaphysics” of design
theory and practice, the significance
of various strains within contemporary
“materialist” philosophy to their
possible reconceptualisation, and the
question of the “ontogenetic” quality
of design in general.


contact me

153 154
Is there any fundamental difference
between the so called “technological”
and the “natural” or is the natural
always already intrinsically
supplemented by the technological – 1984

especially in the context of the human

condition – and if this is the case
how do we begin to construct any basis
from which to critique or evaluate the
question of the ethical significance
of the technological mediate of our
condition, whether that is asked in
the context of emotion, bereavement,
grief, or identity.

155 156
STACEY PITSILLIDES {A: do we begin to evaluate that, when
we are so intrinsically built into
these systems. And if these systems
I think I am going to break down
are actually having an effect on how
this question a little bit slowly
our brains work and how our minds
and try and answer each bit a little
work, than perhaps there really is
bit in turn. So, the first part of
no way of really stepping back from
the question talks about this idea
that and beginning to ethically
of whether there is any difference
kind of evaluate it in any kind of
between the technological and the
a real way but I guess the question
natural, or is the natural is already
is maybe we have to try. It talks
intrinsically supplemented by the
about the ethical significance of the
technical? Now in my readings thus
technological mediate of our condition
far especially looking at the work
and whether that is asked in the
of Bernard Stiegler. There a co-
context of emotion, bereavement. So,
development of our societies and the
perhaps when we are talking about
way we exist within the world and
something as emotionally charged as
our technics so the way we develop
bereavement, grief and identity we
technologies and the way we are
do need to think about the way we act
developing within those systems, so
within these systems and how these
to think about something like the
systems are affecting us and perhaps
human condition perhaps there is
progression does not always mean going
no way of separating out what is
forward, perhaps there is a way other
intrinsically natural and what is
than the technologically mediated
perhaps something we that have created
society to readdress these issues and
and thus becomes technological. So
to think about how these things like
then, to take it a bit further how do
bereavement, grief or identity are
we begin to construct any basis from
being augmented or changed within the
which to critique or to evaluate, the
virtual space. And that is a question
question of ethical significance
I think for our futures, that should
so I guess that means we have to go
be an important part of us going
back and really think about what is
‘forward,’ because perhaps like I said
it we are really making, if we are
forward is not forward.
as human being in the human condition
making the internet than how does
that actually effect our lives in a
really kind of pragmatic way and how
157 158
Judi clark
Judi Clark has been involved with
the subject of identity and identity
management for many years. She’s
blogged (on other blogs) about this
since late 2002.

Judi is a personal coach, and a group

coach. If you want to get personal
about your self (or selves) she is
the person to call on. She is also a
business coach for companies who wish
to understand who they are and what
path they might take into this new
“social media” world. She is a unique
interpreter and trail guide here to
support your interests.


contact me

159 160

When someone dies, others grieve the

loss. The grieving process is healing
for those that continue living. To
aid in the healing process, we might
wish to give advance thought to how we
want to be remembered in the digital
domain. What questions should we
be asking to help guide us? Should
we and how can we begin to develop
“Best Practices” or “Frequently Asked
Questions” about this?

161 162
That’s a very hard question to answer probably also applies to the person
because to be able to answer that from the insurance company who visits
question you need to have already the people that are left behind.
thought how you want to be remembered Right now, when someone dies the
offline in the real world and that owner of the funeral home or whatever
is in itself a difficult question organization is going to arrange the
to answer, right? Do you want to be funeral usually comes by to discuss
buried, would you like to be cremated, options with the families and perhaps
would you like a church service etc they should include something like
and this adds a whole new dimension to an on line page where people could
the dilemma and I guess people feel offer their condolences or an on line
uncomfortable thinking about their own page, which contains an area where
death and how they would like to be people could leave memories of the
remembered. So I guess online the same deceased and I think that is something
thing applies. If you think about this that could be incorporated into some
are you willing to write that down existing processes.
etc. It’s a hard question to answer.

At the moment there are, if for

instance you get an insurance in case
you die, they usually help you with
a questionnaire about what kind of
things you would want at a funeral
um so I guess that could be extended
to include online remembrance for
instance, would you like websites,
would you like a register where people
can type their condolences for family
and friends, what would you like
this website to look like would you
like pictures on it, of you, or of
things you enjoyed etc so I think that
could probably be incorporated into a
process like that and this
163 164
Antonis Tryphonos
Antonis Tryphonas has a MA in
Psychology as well as an Masters in
Health Administration.

Since 2000 he has worked for The

Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients
and Friends, as a psychologist as part
of the home care team. His research
interests include bereavement, end of
life care and the burden placed on
care givers.


165 166
My question is can we make a list
of all the people we would like to
receive an emotional response from
us after we are dead? And how would
we go about creating this ‘emotional
response’ digitally?

167 168
So the question is asking is there were to die except for my close family
something we can send almost like an I might find out on line either via
e-card? When you wouldn’t know exactly email or facebook or twitter or
what to say, like “I was thinking something like that and its going to
about you” or “you affected my life”. be interesting to see how that changes
If I were to die it would get sent or develops from a former industry
out after I was dead to people that that was all on paper to being digital
I wasn’t really good friends with and how that effects people getting
but people that I might’ve connected notified about death. Would facebook
with a little bit or something like and twitter be too impersonal or would
that. I think there is definitely a you rather have a phone or a service
place for creating a list of friend’s or something I am not really sure
maybe facebook friends or twitter where it will end up but I definitely
followers people that you just have do believe there is going to be a
online connections to or even offline space for notification and emotional
connections to but are not people response to those people who are not
you would see every day or even every in your close circle of friends and
week, that you might not have a deep family but you still want to let
connection to. I think there is people know you have died.
definitely a space in this industry,
and just in the digital afterlife
to be able to send someone out that
notifies everyone that everyone that
you actually have died.

Sort of a little bit of a pivot on

this question is how will we know when
our friends die even 50 years ago
people would look in the newspaper for
obituaries to find out when someone
had died but I cant actually remember
the last time I look at a physical
newspaper and so if one of my friends
were to die or someone in my family
169 170




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