chapter  2
14 Pages

Pre-digital mediums, media, and mediations

ByMichael Arnold, Martin Gibbs, Tamara Kohn, James Meese, Bjorn Nansen

The history of spirit photography illustrates the numerous ways that the dead have long been mediated through technologies. This chapter examines the mediation of death through print, photography, the telegraph, film, recorded sound, and television. It addresses to shifts in death related practices since the mid-nineteenth century, including the changes associated with the mediation of death through increasing professionalisation, medicalisation, and secularisation. Research linking the realm of the dead with mid-nineteenth century media has focused on the role played by mediums and spiritualism. Institutional and vernacular forms of memorial often speak to different audiences and look to achieve different goals, issues that only become more complex once people consider the emergent use of digital media for commemorative, memorial, or ritual purposes. Publicly displayed vernacular memorialisation now occurs alongside and in dialogue with institutional forms of memorialisation. Creativity is central to vernacular commemoration and memorialisation.