Death is a phenomenon that has fascinated and questioned people since the dawn of time. However, we know one thing, that every form of life comes to an end and that this end provokes various emotions in its fellow human beings. This emotional work that takes place during mourning can be guided by different factors such as culture, religions and places. These all have the same goal, the acceptance of the loss. When confronted with death, the experience of bereavement is made up of the effects of psychotrauma which is unique to each individual, this situation is likely to cause a great deal of distress and the process of acceptance can be long and perilous. The traumatic challenges that life brings us are all the more difficult to overcome because today’s society has decided to make this subject taboo. As an intolerable ordeal, talking about it has become embarrassing and sometimes even forbidden. While Albert Camus explained that « to speak of one’s sorrows is already to console oneself », the loss of dialogue about death and mourning makes this passage of life more complex to decipher and to heal.
To address this, Poema is a service helping families deal with these emotions. It can be approached by people who want to organise their end of life with the help of their families or by family members who want to talk about the future death of their loved ones. Because talking is the first step for healing, with the help of Poema people will anticipate mourning by speaking around a tangible object before death. And afterwards, people will be able to accept it more easily by creating family rituals through a digital product.
By analysing the current population and the different generations that compose it, we have been able to point out an interesting mutation. Previously, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, life expectancy was lower (between 45-55). This meant that people lived with death as a more regular and much less predictable event in families. Thus, children were often in charge of the funeral arrangements of their parents. Today, living conditions and medicine have changed and it is easier to reach the advanced age of 80 years and more (83.7 years for women and 78.2 years for men on average in Europe). Death has become more predictable as it has become medicalised, but it has also become mediatised and taboo. In this sense, the elderly have become more autonomous and prepare their funerals and convenience so as not to inflict this responsibility on their descendants. This initiative, which could be seen as beneficial, can also be a hindrance to family dialogue about death and mourning.
For this reason, Poema is a forward-looking concept that is evolving in line with social changes. Today, it’s targeting individuals aged 20-40 that understand the power of technology and how it facilitates the creation of memories. They will be able to break communication barriers by discovering this product and then pitching it to their loved ones. As the older generations (baby boomers, X) are also going digital, they will be able to understand the scope of this project and will be able to participate in the different stages of Poema, the personalisation of their urn and the preparation of the application to integrate their memories. Soon and with better visibility, the service offered by Poema could be brought directly by the initiative of the new generations (Y, Z and Alpha) in preparation for their own end of life and the dialogue with their familie.
Pierre is retired real estate agent living in Frankfurt. Since his retirement from the professional world, Pierre has been enjoying life by doing activities he likes such as cooking, organising trips with friends and taking care of his family. As the father of three children and grandfather of three grandchildren, he is in contact with them very often and sees them very regularly. For his end of life, Pierre simply stated that he wanted to be cremated.
Pierre is a young engineer living in Paris. Working in Paris, he has a very busy lifestyle. He travels very often and spends most of his free time with his family, whom he admires very much, like his brothers, parents and grandparents. Since his grandfather was briefly hospitalised, Julius has become aware of his situation and would like to discuss the subject of his death with his family without wanting to offend them.
The urn is a fondamental part of the Poema service. This one shows an intimate connection between people, dialogue and materials. The family dialogue will lead to the customisation of a urn in a new and biodegradable material created to address future environmental issues. Poema is proud to say that it facilitates the acceptance of loss through understanding and shared creation, which thus becomes a family rite.
Seaweed foam is new a material. Its life cycle mimics that of man. Once the time of death arrives, this material as an urn become the new envelope of the deceased. It will continue his journey until the scattering of ashes and its return to nature.
The structure of this urn allows different customizations made directly by users. Beforehand, the shape and colour must be defined during the ordering process. In family, this urn will be personalised by the addition of elements like seashells, dry plants or also drawings and writings. The urn will be a symbol representing an individual and the dialogue on death during its customisation.
After the death of the person, the ashes will be transfered in the urn. Following the whises of the deceased, the family have to scatter the ashes in a defined location (delimited by country laws). Afterward, the urn itself can be used or placed for different purposes linked to its biodegradability
Made from seaweed, the urn can come back symbolically in its natural element and degrade in it. It will finish the life cycle of the product and the deceased body.
By being biodegradable, the urn can be used by the family to grow a plant in the ground. Its material properties will help the seed by giving minerals and will degrade with time. Furthermore, the plant can represent the afterlife of the deceased.
The continuation of the service is materialised by the access to a mobile app after the death of a loved one. Set up by the person who passed away with the support of family members during the process, this app will support people for mourning, exchanging and commemorating.