Death PneumaticsFri Jul 19 2022
Resisting material logic, how can digital representation visualize/utilize/ hold accountable the immaterial remnants we leave behind after death? 

Death is a difficult and intimate question to address. Humans have many modes of memorializing, grieving, celebrating, worshiping, remembering, immortalizing, decomposing, honoring and loving the deceased. The only human universal truth is that we all die. There are rituals to reanimate the dead through writing, memory, corporeal beautification, social media, mementos, clothing and photos but short of cryogenic freeze, death is permanent, inevitable and leaves behind decades of physical and digital goods. It is common knowledge that  contemporary living is made up of lots of people producing lots of things. But what happens to them when we die? And what happens to all of the notes, accounts, compressed files, work and other immaterial remnants that get left behind?

In less than 100 years, there will be more deceased individuals on Facebook than living and the internet is becoming their digital graveyard. Machine learning is also rapidly rising as one of the most important developments in software. Models like AttnGAN (Attention Generative Adversarial Networks) that are based on human methods of focus and attention, use AI to turn text into image. Normally, AttnGAN is used to detect aspects of an image or improve its quality but put thousands of lines of code into the model and a strange abstraction emerges. It is existential alchemy. How can this tool transform immaterial remnants into visual artifacts that can be held and memorialized?

By experimenting with placing the <body text> of deceased Facebook accounts into AttnGAN and using the found images as artifacts of immaterial being, I question how machine learning can memorialize with digital remnants, how it can reinterpret data into something strangely poetic, and how a digital graveSITE could be the future model of immaterial embodiment.

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