Born out of Necessity
March 2, 2012–January 28, 2013
Our world is in our computers, portable media players, and wireless handheld devices; our data is stored on remote networks, creating digital archives of entire generations of people. What will happen to all of this information when we pass away? "Physical access keys to this data would become objects of remembrance," Gauler suggests. Digital Remains, a beautiful, personalized data-storage artifact equipped with a Bluetooth connection, allows users to log on to the digital remains of a loved one on their own digital devices. Search algorithms dig through the data, pulling out relevant personal traces, like a photograph from a holiday spent together or a favorite piece of music, evoking the presence of the deceased. "New technologies bring new ways of mourning," Gauler says.
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.