Friday, February 26, 2010

Designing death

You might think that new media is all casual conversation, but I regularly also receive messages about life and death via the internet tamtam or sms. Recently this triggered a thought; what will happen to our online profiles when we die? Will our virtual self and life continue forever?
Nowadays we can write our own lifestyle biographies, and we can orchestrate our own death. Warren Buffet has designed his funeral and run rehearsals. Other celebrities are asked to do that too and share their ideas with us in the TV-program; the coffin. Even normal people can easily design their own End with Monuta using an easy on-line tool that makes an atmospheric instant movie of your desired End. One of our last tabu’s has just ceased to exist. Death and funerals have become a life-transition event that you can control and organize yourself, just like i.e. marriage. Should you be out of ideas about of how to design your afterlife you could let yourself be inspired by the unusual rituals and ideas that Nadine Jarvis is suggesting with her post mortem design research. She is f.x. suggesting that you turn your cremation remains into carbon copies. Pencils. One body makes approximately 240 pens.
Nardine Jarvix - carbon copies

Now how about our virtual lives? Many people live numerous parallel lives through identities and avatars in on-line communities. Most network sites have very little that describes the conditions in case of death in the terms-of-use. Some profiles are turned into memorials if somebody passes away, others get abused, and obviously loved ones might find it disturbing to be confronted with the virtual selves of their beloved ones on social websites, even ages after they died. And often the loved ones are powerless to get the profile removed.
How are you going to manage your online life in posterity? There are not many of us yet that have anything in-place to orchestrate our virtual deaths. However recently a couple of sites and services have popped that address the problem. The Mediamatic has introduced a service that lets you create a document called ikRIP; your virtual testament; what to do with your virtual affairs after you die. Your last wish is visible to the crowd and The Webmaster will carry them out. The Swedish start-up MyWebWill promises to put you in control even in your afterlife. They offer simple freemium models, that just wipes your virtual identity away and they have paid services that will let send your message to the world, after your dead, or you can donate your virtual belongings such World-of-Warcraft armor to your friends.
Is your virtual life one life one life too many? Want to End it now? Then Suicide Machine will help you kill your virtual profiles. Now.
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