Thanks: Liz Glynn
Medium: Beeswax, metal, mdf
Year: 2016
Site: Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge, MA

7 Memorials to my Afterlives

How much time do we spend reflecting upon death and the processes of dying and aging? Acknowledgement of our own mortality would encourage us to make more responsible choices about the legacy that we leave behind for others.

In contrast, how much time do we spend browsing on social media and other online sites? What percentage of our online lives and connections are truly meaningful to us? A digital life that is authentic to one’s core values would leave behind a trail of memories that would more closely reflect our personalities and principles.

Our digital lives have actual physical locations and reside in storage devices across the globe. The bodily presence of our data is contained in data centers owned by technology companies and has an impact on the environment. How much of our digital memories do we want to retain and for whom? Should these memories remain fossilized or should they gradually fade away with time? What are the economic and environmental costs associated with maintaining these memories and for how long? Who gets ownership and control to access, alter or gain from our digital afterlives?

This sculptural work encourages us to reflect upon these questions surrounding the digital legacies of our lives. It is titled 7 Memorials to my Afterlives in reference to the popular culture in India that talks about seven reincarnations for every person. It contains seven blocks of beeswax that resemble digital storage devices. These blocks are stacked over one another in the manner of warehouse storage practices of industrial sites. The different blocks offer different kinds of readings about the state of their temporal existence. Some of them have aged more than the others leaving visible stages of their mortality in the world.

Copyright © 2021 Tanuja Mishra. All rights reserved.