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Reclaiming Grief with Audio Memorials
Herklink - Remembering in Audio
New Work & Health
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“I couldn’t even say goodbye to my husband of six decades. I could only press my elbow against his at the hospital entrance. That was it.”
I stared at my grandmother’s text displayed on my unsympathetic smartphone. Under normal circumstances, I would’ve gotten on a plane and make the 15 000 mile journey home. Home, where I can hug my family, eat traditional South African comfort food, go for a walk along the beach to clear my head. Instead, travel restrictions due to the pandemic made it impossible. Under normal circumstances, I can manage my homesickness. This time, I knew that a text or a call wouldn’t be enough to process the passing of our patriarch.
With his descendants and loved ones scattered between Australia, Germany, the UK, and various parts of South Africa, I knew that a live-streamed funeral via an unstable internet connection would only serve as a painful reminder that we couldn’t come together to mourn the passing of our patriarch. I decided to compile an audio memorial service by collecting eulogies, in the form of WhatsApp voice notes, from friends and family. Using these eulogies, along with carefully curated background music and sound effects, I crafted a memorial service that we could all listen to simultaneously. From the intimacy of our living rooms, speckled across the globe, we said goodbye. Together. Yet apart.
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