@lpha and @mega

Lives that are increasingly lived online call for a new structure of dying and death. Digital and physical deaths need to be concurrent, and our physical bodies and digital lives can end discretely based on financial and existential needs. Already-existing technologies allow digital lives to grow and subsist through scheduled posting, keyword interactions and automated search engine optimisation. The physically dead can go on living: endorsing sponsored products as their bodies decay. But when a digital life that may have long existed without a physical presence comes to an end, what should memorialisation look like? Memorials for bodily death often invoke simulacra of the human form – the cold faces of death mask, post mortem photograph or gravestone photograph. Else they push the body away entirely, covering corporeal remains with inscribed monoliths of stone. Digital death calls for a form of memorialisation that reflects what is lost – algorithmic interaction, cryptocurrency, sponsored promotion, P2P contributions and cloud accounting. Still the memory of the physical lingers, entombed in digital architecture.

Digital Necropolis is initiated by Dr. Emily West (PhD medicine) and designer S†ëfan Schäfer.