Light after death



People in different cultures have, for many centuries, attributed mystical or religious powers to inanimate objects. These objects are called fetishes. 

I wanted to explore how these objects can help people continue their relationships with those who have passed away.


From my research, I learned that people still continue having interactive relationships with their family members who've passed away. The top left-center images show some examples of people interactions at the grave: letters, memorials, stones, etc. I explored creating my own powerful objects too and how these objects can help these interactions.


Process and research 


Key findings


No feedback

Relationships with those who have passed away are usually unidirectional. This means that we don't receive a physical response or feedback, making these interactions feel distant. 


Distant interactions

Most of the interactions happen at a graveyard which means our relationships might dwindle because we don't have time to go visit them all the time. 


Inanimate memorials

The objects that stand as symbols of those who have passed away tend to be inanimate and unrepresentative of who the person who passed way really was.



Material exploration with cast resin, fabric and metallic materials. Sketch and form explorations to find a form that was both familiar and inviting to the touch.


The challenge is to create an object that would help people to continue having an interactive relationship from home with someone who has passed away.

The object will incorporate: 



Light will be the feedback medium



The embrace will be the interaction to emulate



Clothes from the person passed away will be the material what will give the object meaning


Final Product: The Winter lantern

light after death38.jpg

This lantern represents Mary Winter, my adoptive grandmother. It is made from her clothes. It is a memorial for her, an object that will allow me to continue an interactive relationship with her.

When I embrace the lamp the lamp responds with light. 


Mary responds to my embrace

The lantern reacts to my touch by lighting up. This is a symbolic response: it tells me that Mary Winter has felt my embrace and is responding back through the breathing light. 


A close up of the lantern reveals the texture of the different fabrics Mary Winter used during her lifetime, a knit sweater and a shirt.

Metalic colors and details can be added depending on the color of the fabric that will be used.