Perceiving imaginary constructs such as rituals is a characteristic unique to humankind. From one perspective, rituals are the core building block in the development of our society as they’ve allowed us to deal with the unexplainable since the primitive ages. Even in contemporary times, we use rituals in various contexts where we’re yet to fill the missing void – death being a prime example. Just like many other human characteristics, with the integration of digital mediums into everyday life, rituals migrated into online environments. However, as a consequence of western societies losing a relation towards dying, digital death has been reduced to preservation/protection of data. But where do (digital) rituals come into play when coping with death in a (digital) society? In my graduation project, I explored the possibilities of migrating death rituals into digital environments, and what they mean for dealing with death in relation to the physical world in the future. By examining (digital) death rituals, attitudes towards death in the past and present, utilizing the possibilities of technology in the present/future, I aimed to create a death ritual that takes place purely in the constraints of digital landscapes.
As a designer working in editorial design mostly within the constraints of digital mediums, I saw the opportunity to look into an unexplored, but a relevant territory of the environment I work in on a daily basis. This merged two goals of my design practice; building a narrative (research), that I could later convey through design (editorial data). I started this project independently but completed it in collaboration with a fellow design student Augustina Lavickaite. Her research dealt with the value of algorithms, and upon carrying out both our researches separately, we realized rituals and algorithms have a common origin. Our collaboration resulted in creating a platform that utilizes a ritualistic algorithm to achieve the benefits of death rituals in a digital environment.