User Not Found Explores Our Digital Identity After Death

User Not Found, The CoffeeWorks Project ★★★☆☆

By Tiffany Pritchard Last edited 61 months ago

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Last Updated 28 May 2019

User Not Found Explores Our Digital Identity After Death User Not Found, The CoffeeWorks Project 3
© Justin Jones

What happens to our online presence after we die?

Joining the extensive list of sight-specific theatre offerings in London is Dante or Die's User Not Found, a 90-minute immersive show that explores the question of digital identity after one dies. Originally a play that debuted as part of Traverse Theatre's 2018 Edinburgh Fringe programme, the one-man project utilises headphones and a smart phone to place the audience within the emotionally fragile mind of a lover who has been given the responsibility of sorting out his dead boyfriend's online presence.

Terry O'Donovan does his best to carry the show — that takes place within the cosy confines of The CoffeeWorks Project — by revealing the disparate state of his relationship with his (as it turns out) ex-lover, and all the questions one might have in finding out about their more recent affairs. O'Donovan scrolls through his lover's social pages, and we as an audience join along in the peep show via the smart phones and headphones placed on the tables.

The idea is brilliant, as surely we would all be curious as to what might happen to our Instagram and Facebook accounts once we are no longer able to carry out our own postings. Inspired by a research project at the University of Reading, along with a Guardian article that highlights a wife's predicament of how she should handle her husband's digital legacy after his sudden death, the show's creators Daphna Attias and O'Donovan as well as creative technologists Luke and Abhinav from Marmelo cleverly bring an immersive element to the question — who would you put in control of your digital presence once you are dead?

Yet something somehow feels like it's missing. Maybe an even more detailed approach via the headphones and smartphone would have brought us closer to O'Donovan's heavy and confused heart. Either way, it's a unique experience that is certainly worth checking out over coffee and treats, particularly if you're interested in checking out Battersea's newly revamped offering of trendy restaurants on the riverside.

User Not Found, The CoffeeWorks Project, Unit 20 Circus Road West, Battersea, SW11 8EZ, £20+. Until 2 June