How might we deploy design to confront the final stages of our lives with intentionality and prepare ourselves and our beloved for this universal experience?
We delved deep into the creation of vigil plans and utilized various media to raise awareness the end of life.
We have to face our mortality. What we want our death to look like is a personal conversation that many never have, since most of us treat it as contingency (in the future) or accident (unexpectedly).
The western world’s systems surrounding the end of life are not focused on the needs of the dying. Instead, our society is dominated by a culture of rescue, in which “to be dying” is often misunderstood as losing a battle. This hypothesis is also proven by the lack of scientific and documentary media revolving around how people experience and design their end-of-life period. But we need not be losers to accept our mortality!
The project group delved into the complexities of healthcare systems, alternative end-of-life options, and diverse human experiences in order to reveal opportunities for design interventions. A range of readings, documentaries, and experts highlighted the ethical, social, and systemic issues which typically result in undesirable situations for those who are dying.
We generated a series of proposals including an “end-of-life doula” app, a dog walking service that makes visits to in-home hospice patients, a ceiling projection system for hospital rooms, and this interactive exhibit, which confronts mortality. Through design, we provoke this conversation and translate dialogue into products and services that facilitate better end-of-life experiences.
In western culture, the taboo around death and dying prevails, and instead of developing strategies for how to “live the best end of life”, culture and society promote an image of heroism fighting death and longevity.
Even though considered a “hard topic” to engage with, it became clear that participants and visitors felt lightness and a feeling of encouragement after being asked to confront their ideas for their own end of life.
Most humans have never spent time considering the fact that in the future, they will reach a point at which their vitality and life will fade away – the so-called end-of-life phase.
End of Life
Ethnography and exhibition on the end-of-life
with Christopher Lopez, Ivana Soledad García, Ker Thao, Michelle Li, Noa Bartfeld, Noah Litvin, Sophie Riendeau, Valentina Branada Rojas, Xiomara Guerra
The New School End of Year Show
End of Life, Ethics, Commemoration, Well-Being
System Thinking, Ethnography, Immersive Prototyping
User Journey, System Blueprint, Exhibition, Video