Responses by Zachary Hayes, designer and developer. (zchry.org)
Background: The Commvnion website is the centerpiece of the Commvnion Universe, an elaborate mixed-media conceptual art project. Per the site’s description, “Commvnion is a certified and licensed custodial service for The Incorporeal—a human being’s immateriality left behind after their passing.” Essentially, Commvnion acts as a soul-harvesting factory, and we sell those souls as fine-art prints. That probably sounds ridiculous, but that’s also part of the point.
Ideally, the project manages to convey a broader understanding of “art” to the viewer, in the sense that the majority of this project’s art relies on the context of the presentation; the questions the works themselves create; and the elaborate, extensive universe that the project exists in.
Larger picture: There is a fairly extensive, ongoing social media campaign across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube where I dive a little deeper into each soul that Commvnion is offering. I also provide some Commvnion-adjacent explorations of things, like “the hard problem of consciousness.”
Favorite details: I love that the site manages to be relatively minimal but still very aesthetically “on-brand” for the things that Commvnion tries to convey. Getting simple sites to look great involves a lot of tedious work.
Challenges: Oddly enough, one of the most difficult undertakings was restoring the main header image, which is a painting by Louis-Léopold Boilly entitled Tartini’s Dream. I think I now unintentionally have the best restoration of the painting available online.
Divergent paths: In hindsight, I’d have preferred to build everything in WordPress using a different e-commerce solution like WooCommerce, or perhaps even building a Shopify site. This would have allowed for a more consistent branding and storytelling experience throughout the user journey.