branding, design fiction, motion     

Department of Digital Remains

In 50 years, the dead will outnumber the living on Facebook1 and it will turn into a virtual graveyard. The Department of Digital Remains is a fictional federal agency that keeps a tab on all your virtual actions which will determine your fate in the digital afterlife.

In an age of immortal digital presences, this is a speculative look at what happens to our online selves after we die. This project uses design fiction to examine digital lives through the lens of digital death while trying to answer the question: If we have found ways to treat physical remains of the departed with dignity, why not digital remains?

thesis ADVISORS      
Ellen Lupton
Jennifer Cole Phillips
Annaka Olson
Elaine Lopez
Jason Gottlieb

GRADUATE THESIS
MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART
2020

Thesis Book︎︎︎





Welcome to the Department of Digital Remains.
You have digital karma. As online souls, you are
held accountable for what you create, promote
& allow online. Our karmic accountant has been
keeping tabs on your virtual actions.

Here at the DDR, we strive to treat the digital
remains of the dead with dignity and ensure
justice in the digital afterlife.
 







From the bold fashion choices you
made, to the avocado toasts you shared,
we want your portrait in the
digital afterlife to be an ode to your
unique digital footprint, not a generic
‘Remembering’ above your name.



machinery of the department



case files at the department: before and after trial


colour of each profile is determined by
the tone of the content they have shared.














Everland is the eternal hall of fame
where your digital self would be preserved
for eons to come. An active participation
is rewarded.exemplary netizens are those who
lead an admirable life of duty and
honour and/or brought immense love and
joy into the digital landscape.











case files      

A Digital Eulogy


The pixels of one’s digital footprint form unique portraits of their digital lives. These would include one portrait that expressed the overarching emotional quality of their social media presence and other pixels would reflect their interests and leanings.









What is the digital world if not another
galaxy of countless wounded sentiments?
Even with the best of intentions, you swing
left or right, you are  bound to rub someone
the wrong way. Our Committee of Hurt Feelings
checks in on all the agony your words
are causing, knowingly and unknowingly.









We take no responsibility of ensuring
a peaceful digital afterlife to those with
a deplorable digital karma. If your digital
karma is unsatisfactory, your profile will be
banished to Cape Troll.




The Committee of Second Chances will give
you warnings throughout your digital life and
a fair trial to your memory before sending
your case to Cape Troll.
 


with a postive score, you can choose to have your
profile deleted after death and earn a peaceful
afterlife off the grid in the Isle of Oblivion. Your
loved ones will receive a key to your digital cabinet.







Our grad show got cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. I got by with a little help
from my friends and set up an immersive installation experience of the fictional department.








assumptions      

In 50 years, the dead will outnumber
the living on Facebook.

Death is bureaucratic.

Our digital lives continue to exist after us.

If there’s an afterlife to our virtual presence, there must be consequences to our online actions.



asK      

Can I use design fiction to examine:
the idea of a digital afterlife?

our reductive approach to life and
death online?

our digital lives through the lens of
digital death?





aPPROACH      

Designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby’s ideology for designing for unreality was extremely  influential in my design process. They describe the aesthetics of speculation as “a techno-poetic landscape situated somewhere between what we are and what we have the potential to become.”



For the full documentation of the project, view the thesis book︎︎︎





 
Mark