21 May 2019 | 18:00-21: 00

Cinema, School of Arts Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD


Social networking has created a vast set of data that will need to be managed and we need to think about the ethics of digital afterlives. There is a new booming industry which specialises on storing, advancing, digitising and personalising our own digital legacy before we die: from avatars to holograms, androids and algorithms which can tweet on our behalf from beyond the grave. We want to explore the technologies by which we extend ourselves into the past and into the future, and the issues that arise in their wake around commercialisation, privacy and ownership. We are particularly interested in the psychology of the disavowal of death that seems to permeate the anxieties about being remembered in digital afterlives. How can we understand memory practices that are distributed between digital platforms and human agents (e.g. the ethical challenges of outsourcing memory functions to prosthetic digital infrastructures)? How do these services facilitate, address and manage the affect of loss? What are the ethical implications and challenges?

We will discuss these questions with a panel of experts:

This event will be followed by a screening of Julia Creet’s documentary, Data Mining The Deceased: Ancestry And The Business Of Family (Canada 2016).


Curated by Dr Silke Arnold-de Simine and Professor Julia Creet (York University Toronto)