So far, the symposium has explored projects and research that understand immortality as a way to bring back the past and the long gone; to restore and preserve memory; to pass human legacy to others; and to extend the ability and the perception of the human in its interrelation with the organic and the inorganic. The next two projects analyze what we rarely perceive as pertaining to the category of the immortal, yet it surrounds us, be it in the form of sound signals or in the form of undisposed human bodies.
Don Hill for instance note that there is no such thing as silence. “Sound never ages. A sonic pitch – the note C, for instance – is immutable”. But Sound produced by objects around us create different forms of affect, where the object itself shapes the sound and the sound shapes the object . In turn our relationship that common objects is always one charged with a variety of perceptions, sensations and memories. sounds does something to us.
Take for example a bell: it brings acoustic signals to people. But a bell has a different meaning for each individual listening to it and it resonates differently according the spaces where it is located; rock formations take a particular shape from the action of winds and weather. while the weather eternally shapes acoustic spaces, so is space shaping sound.
among the object that Don Hill has investigated are Memory Stones, from rock art, or painted stones that had a ritualistic significance, to naturally occurring stone formations that can “tell a lot more than you think once you get the feel for a place..”
In Trophies and Talismans, Miriam Nafte, a forensic anthropologist, is concerned with those undisposed death. For Nafte, we are in the presence of death on a daily basis, but we can only cope with it through its institutionalization. A different fate is reserved for exhumed death, archaeological material, mummified remains. When these remains are found, they are not treated as individuals who used to be humans, but as scientific specimens that need be investigated or as trophies to be exhibited. all these dead bodies are not given burial.
Nafte mentions, among others, the remains and relics that individuals sold and traded as objects; churches expose them as trophies; the cadavers in medicine, which are part of the tradition of becoming a doctor; the human remains incorporated by artists in their artworks.
This notion of immortality, as someone in the public noted, presents the cadaver as neutral, as non-gendered and no-raced. Western culture appropriates them and turn them into remains whose fate is not peace, but eternal exposure to serve other purposes: for this reason, these are all forms of immortality as the result of the narratives that we impose upon them, granting them a second life.