During 2014-15, I’ll be exploring man’s historic quest for immortality in the context of the age of scientific miracles in which we live.
What difference would it make if we never died and how would we live together in a world where super-longevity was the norm? are just some of the questions at the heart of this research project which will culminate in a curated exhibition at Phoenix Brighton in 2016.
Supported by a Grant For The Arts from ACE.
I’m holding a discussion next week as part of my research project at Phoenix Brighton and have invited a range of people to join me. The idea is to stimulate discussion which will help me think about and develop my project, The New Immortals. I’m working with artist Susan Diab to plan the event and Susan will be chairing it and using her talent as a facilitator to tease out interesting discussions and, hopefully, keep us all focused. I’m planning a presentation using the lighthearted theme of Superheroes as a starting point to think about how we’ve moved on from sci-fi and fantasy tales of beings with special powers which enable them to regenerate, rejuvenate and resurrect from the dead, to todays cutting edge science and technology which begins to bring these one-time fantasies closer to reality. We’ll be thinking about some of the many questions raised about what life would be like in a world where people could live well beyond an age we currently consider to be normal and I’ll be hoping to find out what people feel are the really important things which we should all be talking about in an age of scientific miracles.
I’ve been thinking about this project for quite some time now – long enough in fact to have realised that my research question “What difference would it make if we never died?” is NOT a good project title. Good question maybe, but not a good title. But in my experience, good titles arrive en route as things develop.
I’ve just heard that I’ve got a Grant for the Arts for the project R&D (how amazing is that? I feel very fortunate, very privileged) and so all of a sudden, everything else is on hold, decks are cleared, and the focus is on this project now and for the forseeable future. It’s great to be able to be single-minded and focus on something I can really get my teeth into.
So, where to start? Well, a few things are important. Firstly as far as the grant is concerned, I need to make a contribution to the budget and I propose to do that through a crowdfunding campaign (thank you a-n for your crowd-funding workshop a while back). As part of that I’m going to offer 10 collaged sketch-book pages as rewards to funders and I’m quite excited about making these as they are beginning to grow in my mind already, some of them born from the three initial sources which triggered the research question. Number one will feature musician Wilko Johnson who, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, declares that he has “never felt more alive”. I’ve just bought tickets to see him in his farewell tour playing a gig at Croydon Blues Festival.
No.2 – I need to set the ball rolling with the public-engagement element of the project which I’m looking forward to working with Susan Diab on. I’ve got a meeting with Susan planned for Friday. That will be a pleasure.
No.3 – Partners. I need research partners. Last month I went to a couple of really interesting SICK Festival events in Brighton and identified a couple of people who I think it would be good to work with. Watch this space…