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Hi I’m Adam, and last week my best friend Max died. Unfortunately he only turned 29, everyone misses him immensely. To stick together as a friend group, we decided to get the Re-membership membership. The idea that he can still be with us provides a lot of peace and quiet for all of us. In the hospital they worked on uploading his brain into the app. We all downloaded the app now and it feels great to chat together about all kinds of things. Max sounds exactly the way he did in real life, we are complete again. (Buro Zorro, 2020)

(Do you want to read the full story of Max? Read it here.)

Buro Zorro created a way to reconnect with your lost loved one, in order to keep the memories alive. The designers at Buro Zorro created 2 kinds of memberships. One where you can contact your loved one four times per month and one with unlimited contact. After you purchased the membership you can download the Re-membership app in which the brain activity of your loved one will be uploaded. In the app you can chat with the deceased one, this way you keep the memories alive.

Re-membership is a speculative design inspired by the culture on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Within this culture they are not afraid of death, they don’t believe in the end, gone or lost forever. After dead the inhabitants preserve the body and care for it as a community. This is a transition phase that can take years before the lost one will be eventually buried. Buro Zorro wanted to recreate this ‘transitional period’ with the Re-membership app. In western societies we find it hard to talk about death because we see this as the end of everything. We want to avoid this end; we want to avoid death. Would this membership help us to be more in peace with death?

‘The idea that you, with your unique life and story, are no longer there. And without the promise of an afterlife. Gone. Going up in smoke…’ (Buro Zorro, 2020)

Re-membership shows the change in society that we also see within the trend ‘Tangible Loss’. Tangible Loss is about redefining what is or will be gone. We use new innovative techniques to resurrect what has physically and spirituality left us. It is about the preservation of our past, by resurrecting and therefore making the past tangible yet again. Buro Zorro creates a way to make your lost loved one’s tangible again by ‘uploading their brain’, personality, behavior and voice: their identity, in a app. This app creates a new purpose, for technology, to aid people in the biological process of loss. Enabling us to preserve what we have lost so they will remain a member of the community.

Would you take this membership if your loved one passed away? When we are able to resurrect everything that is lost, what exactly will be the definition of ‘gone’ forever?

Do you want to know more about Re-membership or about Buro Zorro? click here.

Do you want to know more about Anne Abdoel, one of the Designers of Re-membership? Click here.

Do you want to know more about the trend “Tangible Loss”? Then read our trend book for the Dutch Design Week 2020 here.

Buro Zorro. (2020, October 12). Re-membership: A conversation starter about death. Retrieved 21 October 2020, from

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