A speculative design project on death in the digital age
Beyond Death is a speculative design project that explores the present and possible conditions for human existence in the technologically mediated world. In this project, I employ speculative fiction to think about death, which is a topic people tend not to talk about while inevitable that everyone has to face with. The project takes into consideration the cultural and social context and tries to explore possible solution of how technology can deal with death.
I was motivated by historical and philosophical inquiries of death, particularly, suicide. Throughout the history, suicide has evoked a wide range of reactions and has always been controversial. Understandings and arguments about death and suicide cannot be separated from the philosophical, religious, moral, and cultural implorators. Throughout the history, various philosophers tried to answer the questions that suicide poses. The French essayist and novelist Albert Camus began his philosophical essay The Myth of Sisyphus with the famous line “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide”. Emerging technologies is affecting the way people deal with death. Social media, for example, makes personal death issue more complicated in the information age. In the near future, with the intervention of technologies such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, etc., death will be a more complex issue that is universal for everyone. Thus, there are a bunch of questions that need to be considered in the digital era. In this project, I imagined the scenario that death can be chosen and designed my own death.
The Final Button
The final button is a self-destruction device, which helps with suicide that happens in both real and virtual world.
The Memento tries to make a dialogue between the deceased and the alive. It turns online condolences into tangible mourning through the thermal printer.
The final button and memento were built with Arduino Yun, Temboo, and Twitter API.