Narrating the Digital: The Evolving Memento Mori
This chapter builds on concepts of embodiment and considers our relationship to our bodies and environment(s) through the construct of ‘posthumanism.’ By commenting on the relationship between death and the body we consider how our digital remains, both literal and affectual, may take the role of legacy continuing on and engaging, in some essence, with the living. This will include a central discussion on how concepts of Cartesian Dualism and Transhumanism have led to a futile search for immortality, as developed by modern understandings of the writings of Rene Descartes. This idea of aiming for literal immortality verses engaging with questions of mortality and trying to understand the relevance of what is left behind to our lives is developed through a discussion of two artists approach to technically informed body modification and how this ‘development’ of the bodies both dead and alive further informs the topic of Posthumanism. This leads on to the consideration of Tony Walters (1996) work on a New Model of Grief within which he discusses the importance within the bereavement process of constructing a durable biography. This idea has been developed through the psychological concept of continuing bonds, a topic that has been vastly altered by the new digital landscape becoming the norm rather than the exception. This chapter also seeks to reflect on how theories becoming prevalent within the Death Studies arena may provide a new framework for the developing field of End of Life research within Human Computer Interaction.
KeywordsHuman Computer Interaction Dead Body Final Disposition Cartesian Dualism Death Study
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