Stacey Pitsillides

“I felt a real bond towards this subject, because it is something that a lot of people do not realise, and every single person has got at least one source of information about themselves online. The idea of digital death and what happens to all of your data once you have died, and who has access to it and where it gets taken from there is an extremely important thing to think about and plan before you die.” Neriman

Wednesday 8 February 2012 10am DT001

I see an important aspect of researching ‘Digital Death’ to be the opening of these research questions in the form of conversation, to everybody, as it is truly a topic that will continue to have an increasing impact on all our lives. My study seeks to use the systems of spirituality and social behaviour which can exist within the digital world to create design concepts which deal with digital death, as a “social relation” (J.Baudrillard:1993), pushing the boundaries of how we view and deal with death in the digital world.



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  1. edi1990 said:

    I found it interesting the way Stacey researched the differences on how the digital format is taking over traditional paper and pen for communication and how she related life to the digital world.

  2. sunni11 said:

    I have the same view as ‘edi1990’. It was really interesting and something I didn’t expect. I was also surprised how in Japan they have made a virtual burial service and graveyard for pets – and made money!!

  3. Lecture 5 – Stacey Pitsillides by Neriman Sensev at:

    On the 08/02/12 we had a lecture with Stacey Pitsillides, who is one of our tutors at University of Greenwich. She talked to us about ‘Digital death’ and said that it was a passion of hers and an interest, it is something she focuses on outside her hours of working time, and she does a lot of conferences, organises debates, has participated in various design exhibitions and has been writing on this topic.

    Stacey showed us some videos of a project she had done in her final year of her BA called ‘Rest in pixels’, which again talks about digital death and what happens to your personal data online. Stacey then went onto talking about, what it is that makes up everything about us and how we collect things. She also talked about how we live through technology, not with technology. A lot of people have got their mobile phones on for 24 hours a day and is the first thing they see in the morning when they wake up, and the last thing they see when they go to sleep. Every tool we use changes who we are as human beings. Katherine Malibu has reflected that technology is changing the way we think, and changing our brains, and how great of an impact technology has on our lives.

    Stacey then went onto talking about social networks and how they have become this iceberg underneath us. She gives an example saying, ‘for an example if you take a photograph from your camera of other people, you own it because you took it and it is from your camera, even though the subject is of other people in the photo. Then you go and upload it onto facebook, do you own it anymore, or is it a part of facebooks ownership and the people that also see it? However when you die, the photo still stays on the system and then it becomes the ownership of the remainder of people on facebook and your children’s and loved ones property as they inherit it. Then it moves onto becoming your ancestor’s photo, and they remember you as somebody who was part of their family. Then if you move further down, where you are not even recognised or known anymore, it becomes a photo of the past. Then this photo becomes one of three things, lost, rubbish or history!’ Stacey then talks about the idea of digital technology not limiting us to how much we can store, we can store millions of photos, make millions of tweets, and it becomes such an enormous archive! It is not like archives that we collect at home for an example, because we are limited to how much we can keep, because of space. So even things like clothes which do not fit us anymore, or old photographs, or possessions, we end up throwing them away, or giving them to someone. Stacey said “remember all the social networks are corporate companies, they have the interest of their company at heart, so when you engage with that system, you do not just engage with the terms and conditions when signing up for an account, but their terms and conditions for the coming years and you have no idea of the ethics or movements behind those companies. Are these really the places you want your memories to be kept, or is it just a place where it has your community?”

    Stacey gave us a definition of digital death and said digital death can be seen as either the death of a living being and the way it affects the digital world or the death of a digital object and the way it affects a living being.” A good example of a digital object dying would be a pc/laptop breaking down and you losing all your data and memories, this can affect you a lot.

    Stacey also talked about how to find someone in an archive, and not necessarily someone that has died, it may be someone that has left you or someone who has moved to another country. A photograph is a tool of memory and it captures moments for you, where you can actually find someone. However whilst still being in this world, these archives of yourself, are they really a true representation of you? Is it the way you really are or is it false, and also if it is you, will it still be you in say 10 years time.

    I felt a real bond towards this subject, because it is something that a lot of people do not realise, and every single person has got at least one source of information about themselves online. The idea of digital death and what happens to all of your data once you have died, and who has access to it and where it gets taken from there is an extremely important thing to think about and plan before you die. However you may not really care what happens to your data, because you have died and are not a part of this world anymore, you may think what can people really do with your data? Is this true? People may use your data in a way which you do not like or re use your data without your permission and give a false portrayal of you. So you should consider whether these social network sites are really protecting your privacy.


    Stacey Pitsillides

    Lecture 5

    This whole lecture was short but was interesting it was titled Digital Death, the idea was what happens to all your digital data memories etc once you are deceased, I found it interesting the way Stacey researched the differences on how the digital format is taking over traditional paper and pen for communication, it has such an impact in our lives that so much has changed in so little time. She mentioned her study is to seek systems of spirituality and social behaviour which can exist in the digital world, by this I understood that she meant that people are different digitally than when talking and meeting someone in person, for instance RPG games where you get to create your own character and look the way you want, this effects your behaviour and the way you communicate as for that short time you can be someone else. This affects us all as Facebook could do the same to some people. Stacey also mentioned how social networking could also be a means of communicating even if a person has died as their profile is still active, but this changes us in the way we communicate to the person as we know they wont be replying back, we were also shown a video of how a person on a RPG game wanted to burry his deceased cat but no one would let him so he had resorted to creating his own pet cemetery in this game to help others with the same problem around the world, and now this part of this game is a spiritual place were people can visit the make believe graves of their pets.

  5. Lecture 4: Stacey Pitsillides by

    On the 8th of February 2012, Stacey Pitsillides gave a lecture on Digital Death. Stacey Pitsillides introduced us to, Rest in pixel her final project for BA design. Stacey started of by communicating her research with us, Jacques Derrida. Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in Algeria. His output of more than 40 published books, together with essays and public speaking. His work is also largely referred as explicit influence in architecture, music, and plastic arts, with many artists.

    His widespread influence made him a well-known cultural figure, while his approach to philosophy and the purported difficulty of his work also made him a figure of some controversy. Then Stacey tell us what death feels to her and how would feel in the digital world, this is what Stacey said: “Death is a part of life and life has become digital. Our increasing digitality means that we will increasingly be forced to come ‘face to screen’ with all aspects of death online, including three distinct dimensions. In contemporary society the body has been extended and remediated through a web of technological systems. Digital Death is a field of fast growing interestand concern among academics, practitioners, entrepreneurs, the mediaand more recently, the general public.” And I agree with that because technology is like another world, and with out it life today would be harder.

    Also Stacey told us technology is like a circle, a photo, my photo, our photo, our and our friends photo, our remaining network and children photos. Our ancestors photo, a photo from our past. And the circle of email.

    The feeling when some one dies, hurt even on Social networking for example facebook, twitter, flickr, hi five, myspace, gmail, linked in, youtube. It’s like when the death of princess diana 1997 or Michael jackson 2009 passed away, the news spread though the social networking for weeks.

  6. Notes on Lecture 5. STACEY PISTILLIES by

    Phd goldsmiths

    data after we die – digital data, uncovering the archive

    passion interest conferences organised events art exhibitions

    another aspect of herself

    identity heritage and death

    videa- digital foundation of archology DFA donating social networks

    jacques derrida 1996 :91

    collection – politics of the dead the archive is to burn with a passion. it is never rest, interminably form searching for the archive right where it slips away. it is to run after the archive, even if theres too much of it, right where something in it anarchives iteself. it is to have a compulsive repetive and nostalgic…


    we dont use technology, it changes who we are its a reflection of us. cognatively changing our brains impact our lives

    digital me iceberg. what do we pass on to our families? is it relevant?

    technology enables us to store unlimited data

    corporate companies engage in terms and conditions

    photos – shared – history, rubbish, lost.

    second life virtual world – interest 1st peaked cat ( daughter ) so he did it on a virtual world. makes money from this

    digital data can be seen as either the death of a living being and the way it affects the digital world.

    when people are lost, died moved away how can i find them?

    FB fake identity how much do you put on fb is really about you?

    create something new that can alter the breath of data FB shows

    princess diana 1997 – flowers

    michael jackson 2009 – fb comments – new way of mourning

    data sistics what will happen to our digital assets after we die?

    hARVARD REF. 1999-2011 growth chart of new digital assets.


  7. Lecture 5- Digital Death by

    This week’s lecture is about Stacy Pitsillidies. She talked to us about digital death and how it affects us in the 21st century. We will compare how it was before and now.

    A digital death is either the death of a human being or the death of a digital object.

    First of all she showed us some of her works from her years in the university. She showed us a project she had to do and how she chose to make like a virtual world of someone’s death. It was a really nice video and what she showed us was something we do a lot these days. For example when someone dies we use to send flowers go to the ceremony nowadays on Facebook people just post something in there archives like R.I.P granddad or dad or mum and that’s it.

    She talked about Jacques Derrida who was a philosopher from the 19th century. He speaks about his passion to about finding what the archive is. I want to research about this Jacques Derrida guy. I think he is a realy good philosopher. According to he was the founder of “deconstruction” a way of criticizing not only both literary and philosophical texts but also political institutions. Derrida was born in 1930 in Algeria and later moved to Paris.

    Going back to the lecture we looked at an image of a mummy which use to be a person now it’s a mummy. It’s no longer a he or she.

    Then we looked at Bernaba Bush from the 19th century aswell. He was also a famous philosopher which he used to talk about the future of digitalisation after the Second World War.

    She then talked about how people use social network sites as an archive to show people what you have like images etc.

    We looked at Princess Diana’s death in 1999 and how people wrote letters sent flowers etc and compared it to Michael Jacksons death where everyone was posting on their social network wall R.I.P MJ.

    Lastly she talked about what will happen to our digital death and we never think about that.

  8. Digital death and the Archive – Information is power. From:

    Digital death, a process many people have never considered. What happens to our data after we die?

    Our identity, heritage, how to remember somebody and death, these are subjects Stacey Pitsillides has spoken about in a lecture about uncovering the archive. But what is an archive?

    Jacques Derrida was one of the first people to really explore in-depth the concept of what an archive is and what it means to collect and hold or store data and memories. Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher 1930-2004.

    “The archive is to burn with passion, to never rest from searching for the archive right where it slips away. It is to run after the archive even if there is too much of it to find.”

    Jacques suggests you look for the person that you miss and as soon as you find it is slips away but you keep searching no matter how many photos or how much information, you still have an urge to discover the past and to keep a hold of it.

    Stacey Pitsillides has also explored some parts of digital death and has tried to show this through film. She created a film for her final project in university, it was named rest in pixels. This film shows death through the digital world and is about how a person deals with the death or loss of a loved one. The film rest in pixels is part of a series of films. Digital death is not a term many people are familiar with and i feel Stacey’s perception of it through film really does help people s understanding of what happens to our data after we die.

    “Our social networks have become an ice burg below us”

    Stacey suggests our data is all stored on our social networks, our archive’s. We like to collect and store things, our information our memories these stored in a digital way allow us to collect more rather than being limited to things we remember, social networks give us the freedom to save and store every memory we have. With our photos and information being on a social networking site does this mean that they belong to us still, or are they our friends and families photos and memories too.

    The systems of archive we participate in are corporate companies. Are these companies really where we want our information to be kept and stored.

    Information is power.

    All of our life we put our presence into digital information onto these corporate sites. After we dies this is all that is left and it is left to those companies, therefore they own the power of the information, the archive they own the power of us.

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