Two years ago I attended a seminar on the topic “The Media-lized Death”: Here we discussed not only the depiction of death in TV/movies, but also new forms of remembrance in the world wide web. On so-called online cemeteries people developed alternative forms of creating permanent memorials for their lost relatives or friends, respectively. These sites emerged very early – some are more than 14 years old.
By using written texts (e.g. poems), pictures, audio files etc. users produce individualized burial grounds. The different forms of text often merge into multimedial-based “gravestones”. Furthermore, they connect and share their feelings with others – sometimes complete strangers. The anonymity of the internet seems thereby to stimulate communication, though mourning a lost person is actually a very personal issue. There are many similarities to a wide range of other issues, on which online identities are much more revealing than in their “offline” existences (e.g. sexuality, health). I just thought this might be another interesting aspect of life and culture which found its way into cyberspace. As usual, here some examples:
Cyber cemetery goes online (BBC, 07/01/00)
An examination of these digital forms of remembrance could highlight for instance communication patterns, techniques and forms of digital mourning or the translation (and transformation) of cultural rites via new media.