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November 22, 2006

Cemetery 2.0


Physical/Virtual Memorial

Cemetery 2.0 is an interesting work wirelessly networking the grave of Hyman Victor (the great-grandfather of the artist) in Chicago with some online information about him and his life, photographs of his life, a copy of his entry into the largest genealogical database in the world, a link to the family tree of the Jewish People etc.

Cemetry 2.0 is very much a personal exploratory work for the artist [Elliott Malkin], getting to know his great-grandfather (and his family history) and it employs technology to that end. It documents his research but also creates a memory which can permeate and persist beyond any physical media (an actual photograph and it’s siting in say a family album), the memory of any single person (relatives), any physical location (the grave itself) and yet ensures that the grave, the physical memorial, is the place and link to the virtual memorial.

The work, while not using RFID technology, is a work of object hyperlinking. It employs radio frequencies and so shares many of the ideals and [dis]utopian visions we are currently seeing written about the coming, Internet of Things, the benefit of things becoming active in networks and the drawbacks of people being always on[line], always possibly to find and surveil. Comparable work to Cemetry 2.0 includes Semapedia, the object hyperlinking project based around wikipedia. However while this is an application of what is hoped will be a practical technology and raises questions (good and bad) depending on what (or who) is tagged and of course who on wikipedia documents it (amidst claims that wikipedia has accuracy issues and is monopolised), Cemetry 2.0 mangaes to sidestep many if not all of these concerns, in what is already a delicate subject, to truly create a sensitive and personalised new media.

Note: This work has very much the feel of Christian Boltanski’s work (interview on youtube - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) in the way it tackles memory and the ‘artifacts’ we associate with remembering.

Work reviewed at We Make Money Not Art. [bogged by Garrett on Networked Research] [Related]

Posted by jo at November 22, 2006 04:16 PM