School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Cybernetic Funeral Systems
    Arnold, M ; Gould, H ; Kohn, T ; Nansen, B ; Allison, F ; Love, H ; Adamson, G ; Gopal, TV (IEEE, 2021-01-01)
    Using Postphenomenology (one of many methods informed by Wiener's cybernetics) as an analytical approach, this paper examines three examples of robot participation in, and mediation of, funerals. The analysis of robot mediation of funerals challenges the idea that death rituals are exclusively human performances and experiences, and instead repositions them as cybernetic systems of entanglement and impact. The paper begins with an introduction to the relevance of postphenomenological theory, then moves to the case of CARL, a robot that enables remote participation in funeral ceremonies. We argue that the [Human-Robot-Funeral] relation and its variants are both engaging and alienating, through revealing-concealing, magnification-reduction and a more generalised enabling-constraining. Technological mediation is also evident in the case of Pepper, a robot that has officiated at funerals as a Buddhist monk. We describe similarities and differences in the way CARL and Pepper manifest the [Human-Robot-Funeral] relation. The final example is AIBO, a companion robot that becomes the locus of a funeral ritual. This offers a radical case that directly challenges humans' self-proclaimed exceptional ontology.
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    Proxy Users, Use By Proxy: Mapping Forms of Intermediary Interaction
    Nansen, B ; Wilken, R ; Kennedy, J ; Arnold, M ; Carter, M ; Gibbs, M ; Ploderer, B ; Carter, M ; Gibbs, M ; Smith, W ; Vetere, F (ACM, 2015-12-17)
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    #funeral
    CARTER, M ; Gibbs, M ; Nansen, B ; Arnold, M (Association of Internet Researchers, 2014)
    In this paper we highlight preliminary findings from a study at the intersection of Instagram use and funerary practices. This study analyses photographs tagged with “#funeral” and contributes to research into death and digital media by extending the focus from social networking sites such as Facebook to consider the photo-sharing application Instagram, and how different media platforms are connected with the physical event of funerals. By categorizing photos tagged with “#funeral” on Instagram we show how media architecture and use shapes a complex ecology of grieving practices, with distinct differences from practices that have coalesced around other social media platforms. We consider the collision of digital culture and traditional memorializing practices, and suggest the need for further work that attends to the variety of social media being mobilized in death, grieving and commemoration, as well as to the ways platforms become entwined with physical places and rituals.
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    Users and non-users of next generation broadband
    Nansen, B ; Arnold, MV ; Wilken, R ; Gibbs, MR (Association of Internet Researchers, 2013)
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    Time, Technology, and the Rhythms of Daily Life
    Davis, H ; Arnold, M ; Gibbs, MR ; Nansen, B ; Michael, K (IEEE, 2010-01-01)