Virtual Exhibition (Re)Design Death

13 February -27 March 2020 in the TU Delft Library foyer

In the exhibition ‘(Re)design Death’, Cube design museum shows over 40 Dutch and International design projects (some originating from TU Delft) related to death and the rituals surrounding it. By doing so, Cube strives to break through the taboo on death and open it up to discussion. You can visit the exhibition in Kerkrade from February the 10th 2020 until January the 24th 2021. If you bring the purple “TU Delft Library presents”- flyer , you will get a €2,50 discount on the entrance fee!

The TU Delft Library, in cooperation with the TU Delft New Media Centre and CUBE design museum, brings the exhibition partly to the campus through virtual reality. Come and see them for yourself! 

This VR-tour is funded and produced on behalf of TU Delft Library programming in the context of  the program "Who is afraid of the End of Life. Exploring and (re) designing values on (im) mortality" (February-March 2020)
The tour is developed by the TU Delft Newmedia Center NMC (Jan Douma)

Listen to what curator Wouter van Dillen of CUBE design museum on radio NPO4 has to say about the exhibition (in Dutch).

Selected Projects for VR-exhibition:

Briefkaars (2013)
Designer: Jorik Hepworth, Technical University of Delft
Not every widower or widow is willing or able to share his or her thoughts. Or wants to have them visualised in words or images. The Candle letter offers the bereaved the possibility to express their thoughts in a transitory manner. They write a personal message or wish in crayon on a sheet of wax, which they then roll to a candle. These thoughts evaporate when the candle is lit. The combination of writing down thoughts and lighting the candle is a way to reflect and mourn.

New rituals for humusation (2020)
Designers: students faculty Industrial Design Engineering, Technical University of Delft
Burials and cremations are not only harmful to the environment, but also take up a lot of space. As the world population keeps growing, there is a need for a more sustainable way of disposing of the dead and that could be humusation. The corpse, without a coffin, is put under a layer topsoil and is transformed into a fertile humus within 12 months. The humus can be used to plant a tree in one's own garden or in a specially designated area. Students of the Industrial Design Engineering faculty at the Technical University of Delft explore the question how design can support this form of burial. For their research they cooperate with Susanne Bij Afscheid, an undertaker specialised in personalised and meaningful burials.

Designchallenge “Do you want to live forever?” (2020)
Designers: Max Kersten, Technical University of Delft
In this open designchallenge, designers are asked to design a conversation piece about eternal life. From the submissions, ten designers are selected to further develop their idea into a concept in the Cube design labs. Three of these designers are given the opportunity to develop their concept into a physical product, under the guidance of Mark Sturkenboom, best known for his intriguing and controversial work 21 Grams. The three conversation pieces become part of the exhibition (Re)design Death.

The First Death Education (2017)
Designer: Sojung Im
How do you explain death to children? It certainly isn’t easy. Many people tend to use fairy tales, but it transpires that children actually benefit more from a clear and concise explanation. Im lost her father at a young age and was left with a lot of unanswered questions. Based on interviews with child psychologists, teachers, and children, she has developed an educational program consisting of three books and three tools, such as a seed paper(to understand life cycle) and a handkerchief (for understanding self-emotions) and a mask to help young children to understand the function of the body. It enables children to communicate safely with adults about physical death, grief and emotions, and the circle of life.

End of life care machine (2012) 
Designer: Dan Chen
During a loved one's final moment, it's not always easy to be with them, especially for long-distance relatives or friends. It is also hard to predict how much time they have left. In some cases, people might prefer not to have relatives around when they pass away due to family issues. Chen has designed an interactive robot that offers physical and emotional comfort, performing similar touch gestures, and speaks in similar comforting languages. The form and function of the robot are both design to evoke the sensation of comfort versus discomfort, real versus virtual, and sincerity versus insincerity. The work questions our perception of intimacy without humanity. If the robot can provide a similar level of emotional comfort, does it matter if it's not real?

Tolad: The Totem of Death and Life (2017)
Designer: Cycle of Rituals
Why limit scattering a deceased’s ashes to one spot or one particular moment in time? The Tolad, a hollow walking stick, made of laminated cardboard and plastic, allows you to scatter the ashes at various locations whenever you feel in the mood to do so. Sligthly squeezing the Tolad during the walk releases a small quesntity of the ashes. This is literally taking leave of a deceased person step by step. You can use the Tolas app to record the route on a smart phone, so that relatives and friends can retrace your steps. They can also add messages or pictures. Later the Tolad may either be kept as a menento or it may be recycled.

Die fabulously (2019)
Designer: Jingle Yu
Most people who attend funerals tend to wear something in keeping with the mood; they dress in black, as do the deceased. Yu believes that this is an issue for LGBT people; funerals and cremations do many LGBT people a disservice because of these formal and informal rules. They are not dressed in clothes that reflect their wishes or the way they lived their lives. Yu believes that everyone should have the right to die fabulously and to decide what their own funeral and final outfit will look like. As such, he has designed six colourful dresses that can also be worn by the living. They are inspired by garments worn by drag queens, made using methods from the packaging industry and break the taboo that the dead must be silent.

This event is part of the TU Delft Library-program ‘Who is afraid of the end of life? Exploring and (re)designing values on (im)mortality’, a program created in collaboration with Studium Generale Delft, Theater de Veste, Filmhuis Lumen, CUBE design museum and several study associations and researchers of the TU Delft. 

A collaboration project that came in later: TU Delft start-up develops ‘living coffin’