Panel Discussion

RIP, if you can

Curated by Ezgi Aktug and Merit Zimmermann

5 November 2023
16:00 — 17:15

Location: Stadsklooster

What will happen to your data after you die? While the digital rights of the living are protected by laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the dead have no digital rights. In fact there are no regulations at all that specify how your digital estate should be handled. The result is a lack of clarity about the status of personal content on the accounts of deceased individuals. Given the huge amounts of data stored online by digital natives, this is deeply problematic. 

Participants: Mireille van Eechoud (NL), Julia Janssen (NL), Marius Ursache (RO)
Moderated by: Eric Kluitenberg (NL)
Artwork by: Mikołaj Stojanowicz

Meanwhile, a new digital afterlife industry is taking shape, with big tech conglomerates like Facebook and apps like Afternote leading the charge. They already offer a range of services, from posthumous messaging to online memorials and even AI-powered resurrections. With these advancements, it’s clear that discussing our digital afterlife has become more important than ever! This panel will bring together experts from multiple fields — including law, ethics, politics, and media culture — to address the challenges of managing and protecting post-mortem digital rights. Accompanying the discussion is an interactive art installation by Rotterdam-based artist Mikołaj Stojanowicz. Titled “Archivist 1” (2023), his work explores the relationship between time, technology, and human presence, highlighting the fleeting yet enduring nature of our digital identities. 

Presenting a balanced exploration of the digital afterlife using intriguing questions and what-if scenarios to cover wishful and cautionary perspectives.

Share your thoughts on what should happen to your digital legacy at this non-traditional, open forum. The invited speakers have a diverse range of backgrounds, attitudes, interests and experience. Mireille van Eechoud will bring her extensive expertise on legal and regulatory issues surrounding the digital rights of the living and the dead. Julia Janssen will add a critical artistic perspective on the intersection of the digital, physical and social realms. And Marius Ursache will further complement the discussion with his insider knowledge about the digital afterlife industry, offering an inspiring account of what digital immortality can accomplish when done “right”. ​As a panel, they will present inspiring ideas for the future of post-mortem digital rights – and warn us about its dark side. 


What else is on Sunday?

Check the timetable to visit more programmes with your Festival Pass (5-days). With the pass you can also visit the festival exhibition Our Terms, Our Conditions at the IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] and Fotodok/Casco.

5-day festival pass

For more information on the festival tickets please see here

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