Death is a certainty of the human condition and a cycle that has been repeated throughout history with no exceptions. But what if, in the future, scientists are able to overcome this ultimate inevitability and cure the world’s most dangerous condition: mortality?
The human quest for eternal life is a timeless pursuit: the ancient Mesopotamian poem, «The Epic of Gilgamesh» (c. 2,100 BC) tells the tale of the title character’s search for his own immortality; the Egyptians famously mummified their elite to preserve their bodies for use in the afterlife; while through antiquity and the middle ages the ultimate goal for alchemists was the philosopher's stone (also known as the elixir of youth) a potion that would supposedly grant its drinker eternal youth.
While cryogenics has been the subject of science fiction for over a century, in the realm of science fact, human cryopreservation is actually not such a new phenomenon; with Dr. James Bedford becoming the first body frozen in cryogenic suspension in 1967. This modern quest for eternal life through cryopreservation has been the focus of Stine Deja’s recent work (Thermal Womb, 2019 and Cold Sleep, 2020). To date, worldwide
approximately 400 whole bodies (and even more human heads and beloved pets) are immersed in liquid nitrogen optimistically waiting for science to catch up so that they can be brought back to life. In her keynote Deja will open up her research into these themes through the lens of her artistic practice.