About Design track
Prof. Chanan de Langa
When I die, how do I want people to part with me? What do I want them to do with my body? Do I accept the local tradition of internment in cemeteries – over an extended areas or in floors, with the burial shrouds and eulogies – or am I capable of thinking of other ways?
In my project, I seek to offer – through a website – new options for death and remembrance ceremonies. Similarly to websites on producing weddings or other events, in my website you can browse through categories and select ceremonies for our last goodbye from the world: burial at sea, space launch – with the body flying in a rocket and returning as a shooting star – or a ceremony of compressing the ashes into a “diamond”, which the mourners can cherish.
The website will allow the users to form their opinion using a questionnaire, helping them to choose the transitional object – to the next world – in which they would like to be embodied in death. This can be a readymade or new object, designed for that matter. It can be the vessel that holds the ashes prior to their spreading, a jewel, a piece of furniture or any other object that can hold the ashes. The website will enable customized design of the way death is marked.
I would like to examine whether an accessible and user-friendly website – that presents a variety of possibilities of parting from the dead body – will be able to help the mourners and diversify their customs. I will ask whether people are willing to take responsibility for selecting their own death ceremony, or prefer to go on delegating that responsibility to their loved ones. I believe that such a platform can start a healthy discourse on death and separation. The very act of presenting a variety of options will enable us to benefit from recognition of our mortality, to prefer awareness over repression, and to experience liberation.