Digital Shaman Project

Etsuko Ichihara (JP)

Interactive Art+




The Digital Shaman Project proposes a new mode of mourning in keeping with the technical advances of today.

A 3D-printed mask of the deceased’s face is placed on a domestic robot equipped with a motion program that mimics the physical characteristics―personality, speech, gestures―of that individual as if possessed by their spirit. The program functions for 49 days—according to Buddhist belief, the time it takes for a deceased person to enter the next life—and then the robot bids farewell to the bereaved and shuts down.

The artist wants with her project to create an emotional relationship between machines and human beings, in the belief that new technologies should take into consideration human desires, emotions, and sensations.