What difference would it make if we never died? This might seem like a strange question to ask, but a couple of years ago, I was listening to a scientist talking on the radio about how he thought that one day science could possibly mean that we would never have to die. This was the start of a major project for me, culminating now in an exhibition I'm putting on at Phoenix Brighton, called “The New Immortals” as part of Brighton Science Festival next February.
I’ve been researching the project for two years now, talking to scientists, doctors, ethicists and the public. As well as organising discussions and talks about that question, “What difference would it make if we never died?” I’ve been making some new artworks which will be on show in the exhibition and I've invited nine other artists show work with me to create an ambitious, multi-layered exhibition.
I'm also working with Phoenix Brighton and partners from Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Brighton to put on a public events programme alongside the exhibition, giving people the chance to talk about the important ideas and questions the exhibition will raise.
We’ve just heard that Arts Council England are supporting us with a Grant for the Arts, but putting on an exhibition like this is expensive. On top of the grant, I need to raise at least another £2500 so that I can help support the artists making ambitious new work for the exhibition by offering contributions towards their materials, equipment, transportation and travel costs, so your contribution is crucial in ensuring that we can successfully complete what we’ve started.The artists taking part in the exhibition, Fleur Alston, Murray Ballard, Rachel Cohen, Cat Ingrams, Guyan Porter, Angela Smith, Duncan Poulton, Gabriella Sancisi and Anna Macdonald will all benefit from your contribution.
I hope you'll want to support my project and I'm very pleased to be able to offer some of my works, including a choice from these collages (above), framed and ready to hang, as rewards in my Kickstarter campaign. I'm also offering a lower cost alternative to the originals in the form of limited edition giclee prints of the collages, mounted ready for framing.
Other rewards on offer include my New Immortals badges and stickers (thanks Awesome Merchandise!), postcards, and a lucky dip goodie bag containing a selection of items which might include e.g. pages from my notebooks, photographic prints and annotated scripts and documents from the project.
In a special opportunity available only to my Kickstarter supporters, I'm also able to offer a limited edition DVD of my new video, In Praise of Renewal, which is to be premiered at the exhibition, with a signed copy of the score for the soundtrack which is to be performed and recorded by the Brighton Festival Chorus this November.
Finally, I am very happy to offer a special one to one, out of hours tour of the exhibition to a limited number of New Immortals patrons, and a unique selection of gifts personally chosen by me for each patron from the rewards offered above.
The work in The New Immortals exhibition is grounded in reality, but I hope we can take a step or two away from that reality. I want to think imaginatively about the how, why and what-if's of the human quest for immortality in the age we live in, where science and technology suggest that immortality may not be such a fantasy.
Risks and challenges
Perhaps some of the biggest challenges are involved in making sure that the organisation and set up of the exhibition happens smoothly and on time, ensuring that all the artists know what they need to do and when, and that they are supported to be able to produce their best work. The plan is that each artist's work will be shown in a themed installation, each with a different atmosphere, ranging from domestic to scientific to devotional. The concept for the exhibition is complex and needs careful planning; there will be construction and production materials to order and buy, technical assistance to organise to ensure the installation goes smoothly, transportation of artists works and materials to the gallery, and a tight timetable for the installation to take place. Fortunately I have support from the gallery and admin team at Phoenix Brighton, plus a great group of very professional artists who are working with me to achieve our aims, and some willing volunteers from Blue Monkey Network who can be relied upon to step in if help is needed!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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