What happens to your online profile after you die? Do you want it to remain online, so friends can leave a message in your memory? Or do you prefer having it deleted, so no confusion can arise about your death? These questions were the inspiration for the exhibition Ik R.I.P., the third in the series about self-representation on the internet.
With The Travelers by Elizabeth Heyert, coffins from Ghana, the computergame The Graveyard, 'test-dying' in a coffin, workshops Coffin for your Beloved, the website www.ikrip.nl and more.
Mediamatic encourages you to think about death. It may not be a happy topic, but it is important nonetheless. Besides arranging your funeral, obtaining a life insurance and drafting your will it can be useful to think about what you leave behind in the online world. You may have a profile on Mediamatic.net and other networks, perhaps you write a blog or chat with people who live on the other side of the world. What happens to all those affairs if you suddenly pass away?
The exhibition Ik R.I.P. focused on the relation between death, identity and self-expression. We displayed coffins from Ghana, designed by the Ga tribe. These coffins take on the shape of a fish, football or pineapple, depending on the job, hobby or favorite food of the dead person! Mediamatic also ordered a coffin that was specially designed for us.
The photoseries The Travelers by Elizabeth Heyert consists of portraits taken after death in Harlem New York. Photographed against a black background, using the techniques of making formal portraits of the living, these photographs explore what qualities make us seem human before and after death.
Tale of Tales created the game The Graveyard, in which you play an old lady who visits a cemetery. You walk around, sit on a bench and listen to a song. You can also die at any moment. The creators Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn describe The Graveyard not as a game as such, but as an interactive painting that can be explored by the player.
In the vitrines outside Ruchama Noorda installed a work made with funeral ribbons. Black ribbons are printed with silver letters that contain text from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. This gospel is one of the apocryphal gospels that were discovered in Cairo in 1896. The text tells about the road that the soul travels after death through the different planetary spheres.
Workshop A coffin for your beloved
Together with an artist of your choice you could do a workshop A coffin for your beloved or Grafkist voor je geliefde . This workshop was meant for people who have to bury a family member and would like to decide for themselves what the coffin should look like. Each artist has their own style and way of working. Taking a cardboard coffin as their basis to work with, all of the artists designed an example-coffin that was on display during the exhibition.
We also concentrated on the different ways death is dealt with on the internet. Although many social network sites prefer to avoid the subject, death is present everywhere. The new website www.ikrip.nl was designed so people can indicate what should happen to their online information after death. The site is now open to members of Mediamatic and the open-ci sites of Picnic, Museum De Paviljoens, NetwerkCS and Creative Amsterdam.
The exhibition opened on 30 January 2009 at 20.00 hrs. Dress code: white and/or black. The opening began with the ritual unwrapping of the teddy bear coffin. Mudboy performed at 21:00 hrs. Melanie Bonajo and Matthew Lutz-Kinoy (NYC) designed a coffin during an all-night long Coffin-for-your-beloved performance.
R.I.P Mediamatic from inge willems on Vimeo.
A few special events took place during the Ik R.I.P. exhibition period. On the 12th of March artgroup Etoy held a lecture in the exhibition space. Agent Zai of Etoy spoke about Mission Eternity, an art project that aims to store the digital information of deceased people for eternity. On the 13th of March this was be followed by an Etoy workshop, in which participants worked on creating a mini-arcanum capsule that contains personal information and became part of the Mission Eternity project. On the 25th of March there was a Passed Away Salon, with lectures by pathologist Frank van de Goot, webdesigners Marije ten Brink and Kathrin Hero of Tot Zover Jij & Ik, Lonely Funeral poet Frank Starik and artist Emile Zile. At the end of the exhibition there was a wonderful Good, good Friday party, led by Alix Adams who guided visitors towards the white light. The night ended with a big coffin decoration-fest.
Tanja Baudoin, Alice Bodansky, Martin Butler, Tom Jaspers, Ivan Kadelburg, Anuschka Linse, Bram Loogman, Mhairi Macfarlane, Katja Novitskova, Jans Possel, Willem Velthoven, Wikke van Weelderen.