Death is inevitable and universal, but the way to mourn our dear ones is not. In Japan, a robot may create a new way to mourn.
The “Digital Shaman Project” revolves around robots for domestic use wearing 3D-printed faces of deceased people, and manipulated with specially developed programs to imitate those people’s speech, behavior and other physical characteristics. The idea behind this is to propose a new form of funeral in which robots spend 49 days after a person’s death with the members of his or her family. While the realm of alchemy and belief appears to be conflicting with that of science and technology, considering the common disposition of assuming and suggesting “something that is not here,” ICHIHARA proposes that both might in fact be very closely related, mutually compatible fields. Based on this idea, this project was conceived with the aim to propose new forms of prayer and entombment in this age of advanced science and technology.