Digital shrines

Digital shrines or digital memory objects are developed for vernacular, artistic or activist memorialization or remembering of missing persons and connecting mourners across long distances. They include analogous and digitally born images, verses from the literature or religious texts, personal notes and thoughts, videos and video collages that circulating online.  They are „intended to comfort friends and family in dealing with the impossibility of whispering farewells to missing persons. Yet many of these shrines are accessible around the world and thus become visited by a wider audience that is not related to the dead. Digital shrines act as a proxy for the unknown location where a missing and missed person is, whether or not she is dead or alive. But assuming that many family members will experience moments where someone’s death is acknowledged, these online or digital shrines become ‘mobile sepulchres’ (Petrović-Šteger 2012). A mobile sepulchre instantiates an implosion of boundaries between public and private, local and global, and planned and spontaneous memorialization and commemoration. Digitally mediated routes to memorializing and commemorating those who are ‘lost’ (i.e. someone who cannot yet be dead), fundamentally transform cultures of remembering, commemorating, re-enacting and, therewith, also mourning those who are missing and are missed“ (Mirto et al. 2020: 110).

Transbalkan Solidarity Memorial page


Mirto, Giorgia, Simon Robins, Karina Horsti, Pamela J. Prickett, Deborah Ruiz Verduzco and Victor Toom. 2020. „Mourning Missing Migrants. Ambiguous Loss and the Grief Strangers.“ In Border Deaths. Causes, Dynamics and Consequences of Migration-related Mortality. Paolo Cuttitta and Tamara Last eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 103-116.