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Michele Gauler (German, born 1973), Design Interactions Department (est. 1989), Royal College of Art (UK, est. 1837)

Digital Remains

Aluminum, wood, acrylic, and electronic media
Each: 3/4 x 2 3/4" (1.9 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marva Griffin-Wilshire
MoMA Number:
© 2015 Michele Gauler
Audio Program excerpt

Design and the Elastic Mind

, February 24–May 12, 2008

Curator, Paola Antonelli: These are three beautiful round artifacts. They're very nicely crafted, possibly by hand, and you'll notice that they carry a name, and two dates. One is the date of birth, and the other is the date of death. This is a beautiful and very poetic work by Michelle Gauler called Digital Remains.

It’s based on the idea that as more and more of our lives become digital, our loved ones will want to keep not only our physical, but also our digital effects after we’re gone. Each disk contains someone’s digital remains—images, music and documents—compiled from the various hard drives, networks, and web pages created during their lifetime. When you move a disk close to a computer, it can connect to that computer via Bluetooth and share the deceased’s digital remains. A program inside the disk can even search for the media that are most appropriate for each viewer. For a friend, it might show pictures of a party that that friend attended with the deceased; but for relatives, it might show a video of a family vacation.

It’s a response to the digitization of our world, to the increasingly central role of electronic media in storing not only the minutiae of our lives, but our ideas, inspirations, aspirations and memories.

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