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May 06, 2006



I've long had an obsession with this, not in the least because my Dad died a few years back. When I came to SL, I was looking for memorials--I remember an early Iraq veterans one that Ace Cassidy and others contributed to--but most of the "graveyards" I came across were very cartoonish and meant comically. There's also the nice Mocha Cathedral with its candles.

I also think this applies to animals too. For some reason, in my serendipitous web travels, I come across a lot of websites dedicated to pets who've passed away. I've seen a few in SL here and there, nothing really big yet tho. (The next thing for some, beyond 2D pictures of the departed, is going to be recreating them as NPCs, some sort of "phantom resonance", as if their spirit still lives on.)

Seems inevitable--hope someone reads this and picks up on it, taking the initiative.

Scott Moore

You got me. I've been lurking on and off for months and found something I think I can speak coherently on. *g*

I'm not so sure that people posting memorials on the web are missing the point. For some, it is enough that a memorial exists as a separate object (hence the design of many eurocentric cemeteries which consist of immortalization in the form of engraved slabs).

On the other hand, you are right that there are many other cultures that express their honor of the dead more "interactively". Dia de los Muertos and Japanese ancestor rites are but two I can think of off the top of my head. Not only that, but more people are adopting these ancestor-honor cultures. You live in California, so I imagine you've been to a Dia de los Muertos festival or exhibition of alters and seen the range of expressions.

I recall when Princess Diana died, there were many virtual memorials to her including some spontaneous ones within virtual environments running at the time.

I'm curious what alters and memorials, temporary/permanent, specific/general exist in SL (aside from the cemeteries Torley mentions which seem more aesthetic than honorific). Has anyone made a list of these yet?

Cory Ondrejka

I don't know if anyone has made a list, but Katrina, 9/11, the London bombings, and others have had multiple memorials within SL.

I think I'm going to stick to my comment that a web site fails to capture some critical elements of a cemetary -- primarily the social ones, although on more reflection I wonder if the web is also to ephemeral to really feel like a memorial.


I think you're right. I recently held a big building event in my Second Life sim, one the entries was memorial to the persons Grandfather here's a link to a picture...



Damn Corey, you propagated my formely-proprietary meme!! I'd been giving them away for free for years, but was just last week preparing a reality show pitch for some companies, that being called Requiem. --Each episode of Requiem features one near-death person (young, old, terminal, famous, interesting, compelling life story) as they leave behind a 3-D "plot" of land for the world. Each individual will have a chance to create a 3-D world in which they deposit memories, images and descriptions of loved ones, candid descriptions of historic and historical events, favorite memories, renderings of their big hairy audacious dreams, final farewells, and warnings to society. Etc. :)--

I'm glad it's in the air though, because I think there's a tremendous amount of "lost" knowledge that dissappears whenever people pass away and neural structures fade. I certainly wish I could've helped internalize my dad's unique WW2 memories (and so much more) before he passed. But I will make sure that my mother completes the ultimate 3-D/4-D exit survey.

Tangental note: My attempt to attend the Beyond Broadcast at Harvard was thwarted by a sell-out crowd! While I welcome the public response to such a great conference (a budding Accelerating Change in the East), I nevertheless hold those Berkman folks responsible for the double whammy of bad news I have received today!! ;)

Good work Harvard!


Sorry. I meant to write Cory. (correct sp.)


And also "externalize" rather than "internalize", which was retarded. :)

Cory Ondrejka

Avlis, you always attend Beyond Broadcast in Second Life right now! SLURL link to the event is linked to my name on this post.

Cory Ondrejka

Also, I'm not sure that the idea being released reduces the value of your reality show pitch ;-)


Fortunately, I was able to attend Beyond Broadcast in the flesh, after they accepted my plea, and was interested to see lots of folks mirror-worlding it via SL in the audience, especially the podcast.com startup folks. It's spreading. :) The conference was in fact awesome. Most notably the general update of Web 2.0 based reporting/business structures and the general consensus that bit-torrent style video delivery is about to revolutionize broadcasting, which could have a big effect via video feeds in SL when everyone can broadcast their own content channels. Also got a chance to chat with Lester, which was pleasant and reassured me that you folks are up to good things.

As far as Requiem is concerned: Right on. I will give it a go when back in LA. I just want to actually SEE IT happen.


Prokofy Neva

I actually posted a version of this idea awhile ago (as probably hundreds have ago:

--about using SL to create a monument to the victims of Soviet totalitarianism or other types of memorials. I was thinking especially for societies under oppression still, where they are not allowed to mention mass murder and oppression, or the real reasons people died in detention, etc. that a virtual SL setting might work very well. I pondered this a long time and didn't get started on it because of a number of factors:

o Victims' understanding -- getting victims' histories on notecards was one painful stage; getting it in books and even on the Internet was another -- I find some people want the publicity and recognition, others don't, and it has to be handled sensitively

o Griefing -- once I saw how W-HAT infected the public space and discussion of the 9/11 tragedy, I didn't want to have to subject either vulnerable victims' families or myself to that kind of harassment, and even cold, stark savagery, when it came to mourning and memorialization -- I don't need someone to mock the deaths of people I know and care about.

o Politics -- ranging over the world in life and thinking about at all kinds of situations like Chechnya, Bosnia, etc. I've found that there's always clashes people have about "their dead being more dead than your dead" and that means there are some who will be politicized into being able to be willing to obstruct or distort your memorialization -- amplify that in 3-D real time on the Internet and add the Internet Fuckwad Theory, and you have things like the griefing of Camp Darfur

o Instability of the servers -- I have trouble keeping Prok's Seafood and Salsa and vendors on boardwalks intact, unmolested, in place, and not delinking or getting lost or destroyed due to server crashes and all kinds of asset glitches -- let alone an ambitious project like this -- I am not sure I want to put that burden on grieving people.

o Resources -- I don't know if I could
justify taking resources needed for archiving and memorialization on the Internet to convert to the more resource-intensive 3-D world

o Exploitation -- I don't want a project like this to be used merely as a tool to sell SL subscriptions or become an interesting blog for Hamlet to describe how neat SL is -- I'm sorry, but there's something that makes me a little queasy about that -- I saw the kind of writing done about how the London bombing, Katrina relief, and Camp Darfur were being "done" in SL and there was a kind of unreal exploitative feeling around it that you get with docu-drama type coverage of events.

All that said, it is still something I think about a lot and try to figure out how to do some day.

As for the memorials of a personal type, about your own loved ones, I'd have to say "I'll pass" for the reasons cited above.

Perhaps this will appeal to some niches or some generations. I found that even in a very private way, if I went to put out flowers in my SL home or mark the anniversary of a death of a loved one in some way, it simply didn't feel right, or wasn't interesting, or wasn't helpful, in the way that these Internet graveyard sites don't feel helpful.

For one, there's the intrusions of strangers who begin to comment and not always in helpful ways. Not everybody loves the Internet histrionics of sharing tragedies with strangers on the Internet. For another, there's the nature of the virtual world as the lucid dream, the imagination, the creative space -- death has no place there, it is not an organic space, and just as there is no painful birth or illness, so death seems out of place.

In my first weeks of SL, I stumbled on a graveyard with markers for RL people and little poetry messages and such -- and it couldn't avoid the problem of kitsch that such public events and expressions always will contain. That will turn some off.

Let me put it this way, Cory: go fix the servers and make them work. Get them to crash and lag less. Get rid of the grey squares. Fix the group tools. Do havoc-on-a-prim or whatsis. Leave the rest to residents to do, or not do, on their own, without you. This isn't anything that needs any special involvement from you. I resent you telling people who make private webpages meant mainly for their own close circle of friends or relatives, or people who take part in these cemetary-run or church-run Internet memorial pages, that they are "missing the point". Not everybody wants to "share," when "sharing" means a whole range of unwanted experience, from kitsch to histrionics to W-HAT, has to become part of the mix.

eggy lippmann

Actually, Edgware Marker had a project to do just that about a year ago. I have no idea if he failed to attract interest or just decided against it. Me, His Grace and Starax Statosky were supposed to work on it.
The sims were up, nicely named and terraformed, but one day they just disappeared and he decided to work on a language school instead - that one is apparently working out quite nicely.








Loved your post. You should have done this long time ago.


Sincerely yours.


WOW! These are really great pics!


This is great for everybody.




Sincerely yours.


All the best to your final Term!


You straightened up!


Thank you for sharing your experience.

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