Monday, 16 November 2009

The EXbox - a place of rest for that special someone!

The image below shows a snapshot of a persons life. This person is a friend of mine. This friend, like most people, has been through a break-up. The couple in question no longer see or talk to each other.

Fig1: Placing the disk into a safe, out of sight, out of mind

They are both trying to move on but the digital world persists. Hidden among the countless documents, movies, music and other digital data are memory triggers. On this particular day it was too much, so this friend called and presented me with her problem:

"Whenever I look on my computer I can't help but stumble upon pictures of my ex, I don't want to get rid of them but I just can't look at them anymore."

Which immediately led me to see a simple solution. I told her to delete all the images of her ex from her computer and put them instead on a disk and put the disk somewhere safe and out of sight.

Through this simple example I have begun to see the impact of having a chaotic but perfect digital memory. It has made me see the data within my computer as complex 'bits' of information which inevitably link me to the memories, events and documents of my life.

This is a simple example, as it is something that most people can relate to (losing a relationship). However the example becomes much more complex when one considers how to deal with the information of someone who has died. When losing a loved one you may not want to 'put them away in a box.' I have begun to think about potential, physical and digital, resting places which would allow you the space to grieve but also the opportunity to (in time) celebrate a loved ones information (memories).

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Welcome to digital death

‘Since it’s creation in the late 1960s, the internet, has been a wealth of easily accessible information on any topic, a useful tool. However in recent years, it’s status as a ‘tool’ for knowledge extraction has been far surpassed. The internet has become an engaging space where people choose to spend time; socializing, buying, selling and living. The movement of the internet from informational navigation tool to a community marks a new form of social phenomenon.’

Although describing the internet as a ‘community’ is certainly not groundbreaking, this word, this ‘community,’ was my spark and continues to be central to my research into virtuality. I observe, firstly my own immersion in the digital world, with the hope of extrapolating some of 'the complex interrelations between a person's personal computer and their digital self.’

This blog will hopefully give you an insight into my head and how I have become fascinated by the socio-virtual space, divulging into areas of the digital world, I have termed:

Digital Death, Digital Afterlife and Digital Heritage.