Final Resting Space

What could happen to all our digital stuff when we die? How could people that we leave behind access our digital legacy? What are the boundaries of taste when dealing with the theme of death and interaction design?

We observed a couple things at the outset of this project:

Weird things happen to someone’s presence on the network when they pass away. Relatives assume control of Facebook profiles, blogs grind to a halt, and traces linger.

Cemeteries in Copenhagen are kind of happy places and it’s not unusual to see folks sun-bathing or making out next to headstones in the summer.

The relationship Danes have with the dead seems different than the one we were used to, and so, in combination with the first observation, we wondered how networked structures might change our relationship to the dead.

Few standards exist around what happens to a person’s digital identity, property, and legacy when they’re no longer around to administer them. But rituals, workarounds of sorts, have begun to emerge. Facebook walls become a place for ongoing dialogue with the deceased and Bruce Willis attempts to include his extensive iTunes library in his will.

In Final Resting Space, we have imagined one possible future where standards around digital estate administration exist. The film below proposes some of the rituals that might follow such a development.

Conceptualizing and making Final Resting Space was very much a process of ‘design as a tool for thinking’. For this particular project, we were less concerned with envisioning a viable product or service, and more concerned with provoking questions like Are there certain places, spaces, situations where digital mediation is never appropriate? and Does technology have its own velocity? Can we control its reach even into the most sacred and intimate parts of our lives?

Despite their vulgarity, we saw a certain inevitability to the scenarios we have imagined in Final Resting Space, insofar that they are in some sense already happening: QR codes on gravestones and bots that attempt to simulate historical persons.

Where is it all headed?