Starting Forever in the Cloud
A project that I have been considering ever since I participated in Art-a-Hack last summer, is how we might understand virtual space after it becomes a fixture of our culture (which may not happen for a longer time than most would like to propose). I also think often of the content I am producing online and how it may be used after I die. There was a moment where this was at the forefront of debates surrounding the ownership of data kept by social media websites. Facebook's memorial pages are an attempt at providing a space for people to virtually visit and interact with a deceased friend. Another related trend was of production studios using CGI versions of deceased actors for new narratives (from Audrey Hepburn's Chocolate Commercial to the backlash of potentially using CGI to include Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a Hunger Games film).
What if I used a virtual 3D environment to create a memorial site for my digital identity?
Still from Holy Motors (2012, dir. Leos Carax)
Forever in the Cloud is a research based vertically scrolling web-essay and three.js virtual environment exploring the history of people interacting with the deceased through media. With the invention of photography came the ability to see an accurate image of the deceased and the practice of propping and dressing up the dead in photographs became a way to fabricate a false reality.
I also like to think that these tools help reject the notion of being tethered to a dying planet. If your memorials are data rather than stone, you can ship them throughout the universe. Everything is constantly in a state of degradation.
Part of this project requires research into previous images and records of memorial sites using new technologies and media for preservation. While I'm not very good at writing about my thoughts while I am working through a project, I'm going to try to posts to this blog.
Are.na channel: https://www.are.na/zach-krall/forever-in-the-cloud
Github Repository: https://github.com/zachkrall/forever-in-the-cloud