The New School Archives Digital Collections

Related person/organization

Jen Cotton (designer)




recollections is a series of ceramic urns that explore the relationship between how we are remembered after death and the increasing role that Google plays in archiving our lives. The urns represent material ways of remembering a loved one through physical mementos and written inscriptions, along with the immaterial ways that online archiving continues this memorial process through the act of Googling.

Made from porcelain on the potters wheel, recollections is comprised of four unique urns that juxtapose this immaterial and material remembrance. The size and shape of each of the urns is based on the number of Google images, videos, news, blogs, updates, books, and discussions search results for the deceased. In doing so, the urn's shape represents a Google profile of how one will continually be remembered by search engines. The inscriptions on the bottom of each urn recall traditional gravestone etchings, making a Google search an epitaph of our lives.

Because death and how we are posthumously remembered are perhaps the most universal concerns, it's fitting that Google, the most ubiquitous search engine, constrains whether or not ones cremated remains can fit in the urns. In this way, recollections begs the question of the day: if Google cannot find you, do you exist?



Use Restrictions  

There’s more! What you see on this site is only what is viewable online. Please visit our website to find out more about what’s in the archives.