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mw. N. (Nadia) de Vries MA

Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
Capaciteitsgroep Slavische talen en culturen
Fotograaf: Lola Noir

  • Spuistraat 134
  • Postbus 1641
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • About


    Digital Corpses: Creation, Appropriation, and Reappropriation
    2016 - 2020, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
    Supervisors: Prof. Esther Peeren and Prof. Ellen Rutten

    This study takes as its departure point a twofold media-related shift: the increasing ubiquity of what I call digital corpses, defined as digital images of dead and dying bodies, and the increasing lack of control over such images. With this twofold shift in mind, I ask: With what motivations and effects are digital corpses created, appropriated, and reappropriated online? What are the ethical stakes involved when media users (re)produce a human corpse or dying body on a digital platform? And what role do social constructions of gender and race play in the creation, appropriation, and reappropriation of such digital dead and dying bodies? To address these questions, I analyze a number of case studies involving three different types of digital corpses: (1) images of offline corpses that circulate online; (2) fictional dead and dying bodies that were created online or in contemporary digital video art and photography; and (3) images of offline dying bodies that circulate online. Though my study is not a comparison between the ethics of engaging with digital corpses and those ethics of engaging with non-digital corpses, I do explore the consequences of digitizing the human corpse in a global, highly interactive environment (the Internet), and ask what these consequences reveal about the power dynamics between living and dead bodies. More specifically, I look at how these power dynamics are influenced by the perceived distance between the viewer (the user) and the viewed (the dying person or corpse), and I ask how this perceived distance informs the mobilizations that the digital corpse is subjected to in a digital environment. With regard to the latter, I distinguish between the creation, appropriation, and reappropriation of digital corpses.

    The ethical questions that I see arising around the creation, appropriation, and reappropriation of the digital corpse revolve around agency, responsibility, and ownership. The perceived distance between a digital corpse and its creator, viewer, or disseminator, and the fact that digital corpses circulate as public, shareable objects, makes it unclear who has (or should have) agency in relation to the digital corpse, who is (or should be) held responsible for the meanings and functions acquired by the digital corpse over the course of its circulation, and who can (or should be able to) claim ownership of the digital corpse. Overall, this study demonstrates the various political and social roles that digital corpses (can) play: they can damage and hurt, they can reinstate and undermine existing power relations, they can serve therapeutic purposes, and they can uncover local instances of social injustice on a global scale, and thereby serve as potential instigators for political change.


  • Books



    Kleinzeer (Uitgeverij Pluim, 2019)
    Dark Hour (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018)
  • Publicaties




    • de Vries, N. (2018). Dying in public: virtual representations of the dying body. In V. Ramírez Tur, L. Manonelles Moner, & D. López del Rincón (Eds.), Corporalidades desafiantes: Reconfiguraciones entre la materialidad y la discursividad (pp. 83-94). Barcelona: University of Barcelona. [details]


    • Nadkarni, D. (organiser), Thinius, A. (organiser) & de Vries, N. (organiser) (10-4-2019 - 12-4-2019). ASCA International Workshop 2019 "Realities and Fantasies: Relations, Transformations, Discontinuities", Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (8-12-2017 - 9-12-2017). Encountering Corpses, Manchester (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (8-11-2017 - 9-11-2017). Challenging Corporealities, Barcelona (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (30-10-2017 - 1-11-2017). Digital Existence, Sigtuna (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (6-9-2017 - 9-9-2017). Death, Dying and Disposal, Preston (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (8-7-2017). ACLA Annual Meeting 2017: Radical Feminism and the Young Girl, Utrecht. Paper presentation: "Sullen Girls: The Eroticization of Female Depression." (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (12-5-2017). Death and the Maiden: Representations of Women and Death in Literature and Culture, Łódź. Paper presentation: "Girl, Intermediated: Girlhood as Purgatorial Space in Huyghe & Parreno's No Ghost Just a Shell." (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (30-3-2017). ASCA Annual Workshop 2017: Unnecessary, Unwanted and Uncalled-for, Amsterdam. Paper presentation: "Tender Archives: The Sentimental Preservation of Online Content." (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    • de Vries, N. (participant) (3-9-2016). Death and Culture 2016, York. Paper presentation: "I Will Love U 4-Ever: The Poetics of the YouTube Death Narrative." (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
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