architectures of death and remembrance, Object Oriented Ontology, e-waste, anthropocene, flat ontology, cyborg, memorialization
Some of the first marks humans left on the world were the architectures of death and remembrance. From the pyramids of Ancient Egypt and the catacombs of Ancient Rome, to the burial landscapes of the 20th century, today’s architecture of death manifests itself mainly as cemeteries and crematoriums. However, the culture of death in the 21st century has evolved to need a new type of architecture that acknowledges changes in humanity and its impact on the natural and technological environment. Humans are no longer just human. Our recent evolution has presented two realities which the discipline of architecture needs to respond to. First, the split presence of the digital and physical being. Second, the continuous changes in technology with relation to the human body and the environment in which it lives, as advancements in science and biotechnology make augmented humanity more plausible. This merging of human and technology, both physically and mentally, can be defined as posthuman, where the ideas of Object Oriented Ontology negate traditional binaries regarding the human subject and the environment surrounding it. When a person dies, the technological parts of them remain alive through the digital extension of the self, thus making it more plausible to remember the human without the presence of the body. In addition, there are physical ramifications to this extension, manifesting itself as e-waste that is hazardous to our environment and contributes to social injustice. According to 19th century french sociologist Emile Durkheim, “The way in which we bury our dead and mourn them is a reflection of the way we live”, thus, it is time that the architecture of which we use to bury, mourn, and remember our dead reflects our preoccupations regarding our mortality and environmental impact. We argue that the architecture of death in this emerging posthuman society can achieve a reconciliation between our changed bodies, the changed environment, and the need to change how we think of death.
Bullard, David and Elias, Carolina Hasbun, "Death of a PostHuman" (2018). Architecture Thesis Prep. 370.
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Thesis Prep Advisors:
Sinead Mac Namara