architectures of death and remembrance, Object Oriented Ontology, e-waste, anthropocene, flat ontology, cyborg, memorialization
Some of the first marks humans left on the planet were the architectures of death and remembrance. From the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to the burial landscapes of the 20th century, today’s architecture of death manifests itself mainly as cemeteries and crematoriums. However, we contend the culture of death in the 21st century has evolved to demand an architecture that acknowledges changes in its culture and its impact on the natural and technological environment. Humans are no longer just human. Our recent evolution has presented two realities, to which the discipline of architecture needs to respond. First, the split presence of the digital and physical identity. Second, the advancements in science and biotechnology that facilitate augmented humanity. From the well established medical devices of today, such as insulin pumps and artificial organs, to more speculative designs such as smart prosthetics and identity microchips. We define this merging of human and technology, of physical and mental, as posthuman. So, when a person dies, the technological parts of them will remain alive through the digital extension of the self, thus making it more plausible to memorialize and perhaps mourn the human, in the absence of the body. Architecture can narrate and recycle our posthuman bodies, creating new types of burial and memorial rituals that can also respond to increasing spatial and environmental challenges presented by traditional burial and cremation.
Bullard, David and Elias, Carolina Hasbun, "Death of a PostHuman" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 446.
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