2022–23 CAST Mellon Faculty Grant

TeleAbsence. Image courtesy of Hiroshi Ishii.
TeleAbsence. Image courtesy of Hiroshi Ishii.
TeleAbsence. Image courtesy of Hiroshi Ishii.
TeleAbsence. Image courtesy of Hiroshi Ishii.

Addressing the vast emotional distance caused by the loss of a loved one

“People die twice.
First, when they die.
Then when they are forgotten.”

– Rokusuke Ei (1933–2016)


Presence and absence are fundamental states of being for mortal humans; being present or close, and being absent, far away, or lost. Building upon the Tangible Media Group’s TelePresence projects, TeleAbsence aims to create illusory communication channels with those no longer with us to soothe the pain of bereavement. The project is designed around objects, including old typewriters, telephones, bottles, brushes, and pianos that were once touched and marked by the hand of a loved one. 

Through these tangible artifacts and abstract ambient media, TeleAbsence offers a sense of “ghostly telepresence” of lost loved ones. The project aims to address the issue of the vast, emotional distance caused by bereavement and the inability to receive a response from a loved one—the “presence of absence.”

More information at MIT Media Lab


Upcoming Events

Spring 2023

Past Events

TeleAbsence: Communication with those no longer among us through Tangible Memories
Lecture/Presentation at Ars Electronica 2021
Festival for Art, Technology & Society
Ars Electronica Garden Cambridge
September 8-12, 2021


Hiroshi Ishii, Concept Lead

Paula Aguilera, Media Producer

Kyung Yun Choi, GhostTypeWriter

Mengying “Cathy” Fang, Calligraphy

Özgün Kılıç Afsar, Singing Body

Rébecca Kleinberger, Voice

JB Labrune, Concept Development

Elise O’Hara, Administrative Coordinator

Daniel Pillis, Software Designer

Akito van Troyer, Software & Hardware Developer

Jonathan Williams, Media Technology

Xiao Xiao, MirrorFugue Designer