As new technologies shape practices of death, disposal and memory, this panel asks: What kinds of publics gather around online memorials and with what affect? How will we deal with digital and material remains in the future? How are relations around death given new meaning through new technology?
Contemporary and emerging technologies are reshaping experiences of death, disposal and memorialisation. Technologies allow social presence to persist beyond death through some form of digital afterlife; practices of everyday media-making raise questions about managing and curating immaterial legacies; and questions of sustainability and culture are driving new means of dealing with bodily remains after death. Together, these issues reimagine and reshape life and death in relation to notions of personhood, social relations with the living and with the dead, and the material and intersubjective dimensions of death. Submissions are invited for a panel addressing death and technology, including, but not limited to: • the material culture of funeral and memorialization practices • changes in the sequestration and institutionalization of death • the deployment of social media and their networked publics to narrate the personhood of the dead • the social life of the dead through online media • memorials associated with virtual worlds such as Second Life, World of Warcraft and Eve Online • innovations in the funeral industry, and the implications of new goods and services for the experiences that surround death • the curation and disposal of a digital legacy • innovations in body disposal and the sense these make of death, the body and personhood.