Last Words, a one-week concept developed by Matthew Barber as part of his Masters Thesis project entitled “The End”, explores the future of dying and how new technology might affect the way we look towards death.
Last Words imagines a world where the delivering of a life-long secret, a last wish, an apology, or a confession can be as easy as writing a Facebook update, but with feedback that the sender will never know. By investigating the permanence of such digital artifacts—as well as the blurriness of the consequences of these artifacts—Last Words asks the questions, “How can personal expression live on after death?” “Does this expression ultimately add to or detract from the value of our lives?” and “What are the flavors of communications someone might want to send after one’s passing?”
Last Works is a speculative provocation pointing to the challenges around online accountability. But it also tries to negotiate the technological imperative and the tidal wave of social media offerings that come at us at an ever-increasing rate. Ultimately, it asks us to consider the ethics of “dying in a digital age,” and what designed artifacts we are will to live (and die) with.