Monument to Everyday Deaths

2005

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This unrealized proposal pairs a live webcam view of an unremarkable patch of earth with archived stills of the same view, logged to coincide with the officially recorded times-of-death for local citizens. Visitors to the project website could access archives of past views by choosing a specific date, and scrolling through the names of the deceased for that date.

Click here to view an interactive prototype. [flash player required]

Background

Memorials to lost family and friends, in the form of cemeteries or roadside shrines, occupy a significant part of our shared physical spaces. They offer opportunities for encounters with strangers, the doubly “othered” of the unknown dead. Cemeteries and roadside shrines also remind us of the reality of the dead, who died in the same spaces we live in, and who linger just feet below the surface of the earth. Currently, online memorials offer none of these important functions. They offer no analogous chance encounters with the dead, nor remind us of their existence in a space continuous with our own.

Mission

Live media typically invite the connection of disparate, disconnected spaces through the illusion of a shared moment.

This project instead invites the connection of disparate, disconnected moments through the illusion of a shared space.

Monuments typically commemorate death through erection of a stationary, unchanging object in public space.

This project instead embraces and indexes change, replacing the atemporal monolith with a persistent, displaced gaze.

Live media typically employs the erasure of distance toward the familiarization of an Other.

This project instead relies upon distance to let strangers remain estranged, yet acknowledged.

Monuments typically begin as vocal signs, and gradually go mute.

This project instead makes muteness a space for social connection.

Liveness unmoors distant spaces to re-orient them as dependent upon our own.

This project creates an unmoored space and leaves it that way, exploring the promise of a non-site.