Platforms for Haunting: The Talking Dead
The relationship between death and technology is as old as human civilisation; from cenotaph to facebook memorial, industries have been built on our desire to remember and be remembered. Technology now enables us to create spine-chilling immersive experiences; allowing us to embody the worlds of our ancestors, enter our ghost stories and even plan a little post-mortem haunting ourselves. We want to move the conversation beyond discussions of data legacy to ask whether we can engender a new form of history, one that allows us to interact with the dead.
Bringing together experts in human remains, memorialisation and new technology this Panel will explore our relationship with mortality in a digital age. The discussion will draw on recent projects which have used new technology to augment cemeteries, populate historic sites with ghosts of their past and instigate twitter conversations with a 1,610 year old woman.
Dr. David Kirk is Senior Lecturer in Experience-Centred Design at Newcastle University, UK. His research is in the area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) studying the design of interactive (computational) technologies.
Much of his work focuses on memory, reminiscence and memorialisation. Most recently he has explored the design of, and issues around, 'pervasive monuments' or digital augmentations to memorial sites, in Slovenia and elsewhere; and has studied processes of archiving and memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda. He is particularly keen to expand research on the 'future of human memory', looking at how new digital technologies might support our 'experiences of memory'. And thinking through what it means to remember, how we orient to memories in our everyday lives and how we might design for new kinds of weird, wonderful and possibly provocative, digital memory experience.
Dr. John Troyer is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. His interdisciplinary research focuses on contemporary memorialisation practices, concepts of spatial historiography, and the dead body’s relationship with technology. Dr. Troyer is also a theatre director and installation artist with extensive experience in site-specific performance across the United States and Europe. He is a co-founder of the Death Reference Desk website (http://www.deathreferencedesk.org) and a frequent commentator for the BBC. His forthcoming book, Technologies of the Human Corpse (published by the University of North Carolina Press), will appear in 2013.
His current project, the Future Cemetery, is a REACT Heritage Sandbox collaboration between Arnos Vale Cemetery, Calling the Shots media, and the Centre for Death and Society. The Future Cemetery can be followed on Twitter at @FutureCemetery, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thefuturecemetery and via a project blog: http://www.watershed.co.uk/ished/heritagesandbox/projects/2012/the-future-cemetery/ .
Lucy Heywood is Co-Artistic Director of Stand + Stare, an immersive theatre and interactive design company. She and her brother Barney Heywood create automated experiences, often based on archival material, and immersive performances. They are residents at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, and make work for theatres, museums, libraries, festivals, media agencies, and commercial clients.
Stand + Stare’s Theatre Jukebox is a platform for telling stories. Users are invited to choose from a selection of cards, which are brought to life through projection and audio. It offers an interesting way to access archives, through a researched and curated experience.
Lucy and Barney are also currently working on a REACT Pump Priming project with Tim Cole researching ways to animate the pages of a guidebook with fictional and remembered stories of travel.
Tim Cole is Professor of Social History at the University of Bristol. His research interests are in landscapes of history and memory. He is particularly interested in Holocaust landscapes, and has written widely on the histories, geographies and representations of the Holocaust. His books on these subjects include Selling the Holocaust (1999), Holocaust City (2003) and Traces of the Holocaust (2011)
Tim has recently completed a REACT Heritage Sandbox collaboration with Interactive Places and the National Trust on a project on 'Mirroring the Past' which involved developing augmented reality mirrors to expose patinas of the past in historic landscapes. He is now working with Stand+Stare on a project on books and memory, focused around animating the pages of the guidebook.