Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Visiting Digital Tombstones: Unearthing Questions of Digital Personhood, Commemoration, and Remembrance Processes


In this paper, I investigate digital device users and their relationships with devices in order to tease out the ways human and computer interactions are shaping concepts of personhood by utilizing Alfred Gell’s concepts of the art nexus and the distributed person as frameworks for examining digital applications that are being incorporated by some users in processes of remembrance and mourning. First, I consider the metaphorical vocabulary and terminology applied to technical tools and their use, which ascribe a level of agency to the technological objects or systems. Secondly, I dissect two applications that were developed to run in tandem with the social networking platforms Twitter and Facebook, and designed to directly address processes of death, loss, and remembrance through the digital social network. I evaluate the two digital applications, called and LIVESON, to consider the ways in which people are incorporating digital devices and digital media into critical cultural practices, particularly those related to death and remembrance.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View