Existential Terrains

Duration: 2014 – 2018

What does it mean to be a human being in the digital age? How are those classic existential questions about our finitude and the afterlife, about time, space, ‘meaning’, selfhood and sociality, negotiated and understood in cultures of connectivity? Our communication culture, as an existential terrain, offers new spaces for exploring the profundity of life, but at the same time raises new existential predicaments and vulnerabilities.

This project examines the basic issues and big questions of our digital existence. With a particular focus on death, as the key existential given, it interrogates how we should conceive of our media ontology when digitalization now pervades our entire material lifeworld and the human condition.

Drawing on existential philosophy and combining approaches from death studies, memory studies and the field of media, religion and culture we are studying posthumous memory work, mourning online, the digital afterlife, after death communication, trolling and blogging about terminal illness. Focusing mainly on Sweden, we are also analyzing developments in the Global North, in particular in the UK, USA, Finland and Russia.

The research programme constitutes a national resource centre for the study of digital media and existential issues. In our international research network DIGMEX we are organizing a seminar series, workshops on digital media ethics and conferences. The programme collaborates closely with our international advisory board and affiliated team of researchers. We are also working with a reference group of stakeholders, state authorities and NGOs.

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Published Title Authors
2017 The Grand Interruption: Death Online and Mediated Lifelines of Shared Vulnerability Yvonne Andersson, Amanda Lagerkvist
2016 Embodiments of Memory: Toward and Existential Approach to the Culture of Connectivity Amanda Lagerkvist
2016 Existential Media: Toward a Theorization of Digital Thrownness Amanda Lagerkvist
2015 Monster bodies: Transformation, transmediality and makeover culture Kristina Stenström
2015 The Netlore of the Infinite: Death (and Beyond) in the Digital Memory Ecology Amanda Lagerkvist
2014 A Quest for Communitas: Rethinking Mediated Collective Memory Existentially Amanda Lagerkvist
2013 New Memory Cultures and Death: Existential Security in the Digital memory Ecology Amanda Lagerkvist
2013 Communicating the Rhythms of Retromodernity: Confused and Mixed Shanghai Amanda Lagerkvist
2013 Media and Memory in New Shanghai: Western Performances of Futures Past Amanda Lagerkvist
2013 Confused and Mixed Shanghai: På turer i det retromoderna Amanda Lagerkvist
2012 9.11 in Sweden: Commemoration at Electronic Sites of Memory Amanda Lagerkvist
2012 Review of "On Media Memory: Collective Memory in a New Media Age" Amanda Lagerkvist
2012 The production of pro-suicide content on the Internet: A counter-discourse activity Michael Westerlund
2012 Att önska dö: Samtal om självmord på internet Michael Westerlund
2011 Velvet and Violence: Performing the Mediatized Memory of Shanghai’s Futurity Amanda Lagerkvist
2010 Självmord och Internet: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne Michael Westerlund
2010 The Future is Here: Media, Memory and Futurity in Shanghai Amanda Lagerkvist
2010 A Virtual America: Americans and ‘American’ Spaces in New Shanghai Amanda Lagerkvist
2010 American Spaces: Editor’s Note Amanda Lagerkvist
2009 The Future Gaze: City Panoramas as Politico-Emotive Geographies André Jansson, Amanda Lagerkvist