NightBeyondNight (2008)

Night Beyond Night is a net art piece that explores online obituaries as a form for data visualization. My goal for this project was to explore ideas of permanence, fragmentation and the afterlife by creating a piece that played with both the forms of text and image found in online obituaries.

Every day, online obituaries are automatically downloaded from 8 different newspaper sites into a central database, images are then turned into crude line drawings, and then processed again into a Processing applet which uses the text of the obituary to draw a slightly altered and moving form of the obituarie's image. Rolling over the image causes the ghost to change its form into a fragment of the obituaries' text.

Background

As a child, every Sunday, I would eagerly read the obituary pages. I was fascinated by both the scant language and brief details that were used to describe a ...

Full Description

Night Beyond Night is a net art piece that explores online obituaries as a form for data visualization. My goal for this project was to explore ideas of permanence, fragmentation and the afterlife by creating a piece that played with both the forms of text and image found in online obituaries.

Every day, online obituaries are automatically downloaded from 8 different newspaper sites into a central database, images are then turned into crude line drawings, and then processed again into a Processing applet which uses the text of the obituary to draw a slightly altered and moving form of the obituarie's image. Rolling over the image causes the ghost to change its form into a fragment of the obituaries' text.

Background

As a child, every Sunday, I would eagerly read the obituary pages. I was fascinated by both the scant language and brief details that were used to describe a life and how in some ways an obituary represented the last public appearance of an individual.

As I have gotten older my interest in obituaries has continued. Obituaries now exist both online and in print and this move to a networked environment raises some interesting questions.

What does it mean to have a web presence after we have departed? Can the internet in someway represent a man made afterlife? Is it possible for there to be ghosts on the internet? If we consider a ghost to be a trace of a person, incomplete but retaining some form or impression of one's former self then can one's web presence in the form of an online obituary be used to represent this specter?

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