Afterlife & Death in a Digital Age
Singapore, April 17.
As emergent technologies increasingly pervade people’s lives they
are also increasingly a part of dying and of hopes and illusions of
immortality and possible afterlife
Our interests in this workshop extend beyond issues of remembering and
commemoration to include:
* possible immortality and afterlife through digital media;
* cultural issues with dying, death, afterlife and technology;
* new forms of grieving and commemorating via emerging technologies;
* the motivation, role and function of technological responses to
* digital archiving and the preservation of self and society;
* the ethics of supporting death and desecration through technology;
* the hybridisation of once living, sentient beings with other
biological and robotic entities.
Some questions we wish to address through this workshop include (but are
not restricted to):
* How is the dash between life and death, being and oblivion reflected
in the age of digital media? How can we approach the subtleties of
different cultural practices and beliefs through design?
* What is the technological response to the ephemerality of our
digital and physical existence? What are the issues around ordinary
technologies transforming into memorials, evoking powerful memories,
* What is the function of different projects offering technological
response to death and afterlife? Are we simply witnessing
technological sentimentality and kitsch and designing new forms of
"earthly and ridiculous immortality" as Milan Kundera would inspire us
* What are different design solutions responding to? For example, are
they trying to respond to the immense indifference of nature and the
universe to human life and death?
* How can we respond to the ever-increasing mass of digital refuse or
dead data and what are the implications of and insights
provided by reflecting on the inevitable end of
* What are the legal and ethical implications of freedom of
choice being supported through technology, digital desecration
and the hybridisation of (the remains of) the dead with the living?
These issues promise not only to stretch our analytical approaches and
tools but also our methods, methodologies and ethical frameworks.
Denisa Kera, Ph.D
Communications & New Media Programme
Science Technology Society Research Cluster
National University in Singapore
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Block AS6, level 3
11 Computer Link, Singapore 117589
Tel: (65) 65165768 Fax: (65) 67794911
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