It's human nature to want to keep the memory of the deceased alive. Photography, for instance, has served as a powerful tool to help us do this. I've explored this with my 2020 project ALIVE: Lost for Words, where I photographed people against a projected image of their lost loved ones.
Recently, the pandemic left us feeling closer than ever to death, forcing us to confront our own mortality and the legacy we leave behind. With our normal lives disrupted by social distancing, digital tools also radically impacted our traditional death rituals. We said final goodbyes over FaceTime, mourned together via Zoom, lit virtual prayer candles from our laptops.
In 2023, technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain will allow us to create new forms of posthumous digital presences. The adoption of these technologies is already opening our minds to the idea of living forever in the virtual world. For instance, in 2020, hologram experts Kaleida collaborated with Kanye West to create a hologram of Kim Kardashian's late father for her 40th birthday. Genealogy platform MyHeritage has created Deep Nostalgia, a deep-fake tool that animates the faces of departed relatives in family photos. Stonses, a blockchain-powered memorial platform, can store digital NFT replicas of our treasured possessions, affording a permanence to the memories we associate with them.
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