Brighton isn’t short of incredible artists, displayed at the wonderful art galleries we have in our city and surrounding areas. However, it’s not every day an exhibition combines art with science. The New Immortals is a brand new exhibition opening this weekend that explores the immortality in an age of scientific miracles. Created as part of the Brighton Science Festival, the exhibition will be held at the Phoenix Brighton Gallery.
With new work from the likes of Rachel Cohen, Anna Macdonald, Guyan Porter, Gabriella Sancisi and Angela Smith, The New Immortals ‘explores our ongoing quest for immortality and offers ten artists’ responses to this new paradigm. From the dawn of human consciousness, we have invented stories to distract ourselves from the fact of our mortality.’ Stephen Cave, a philosopher, has theorised that in the current day, the tales of immortality have moved from myth and magic to a modern form of faith; science, medicine and technology. Life expectancy is constantly rising and we are constantly being told about ground-breaking and miraculous developments in science.
Artist and curator Judith Alder undertook a two-year research project in which she talked to scientists, medics, philosophers, ethicists, artists and the wider public to explore ideas around immortality, and to begin to consider what advances in biomedical science might mean for us humans. She asks ‘Could indefinite human life become a reality? Would we really want ot live forever? And What difference would it make if we never died?’. These ideas are explored in The New Immortals exhibition. The exhibit ‘brings together a group of artists who offer their own perspectives on these questions’. There are so many fascinating pieces in the exhibition, such as a video portrait of a newborn, a virtual world from appropriated materials that hints at a different kind of immortality, and interestingly, a piece in which a traditional hymn turns into songs of praise for science and technology.
There are also many activities associated with the exhibition. On Saturdays there are drop in sessions where you can join Judith Alder and special guests ‘for informal conversations around art, science and immortality’, with a specific theme being explored each week. There will also be a drawing workshop with Angela Smith using the exhibition as inspiration and a networking event which will be held on the 25th February. This will contain an exhibition viewing followed by a talk by artist Anna Dumitriu on her experience of cross-disciplinary collaborative working. The New Immortals have also partnered up with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School for a symposium that will bring together artists, scientists and academics to explore the works and issues of The New Immortals. Photographer Murray Bullard has also released a new book, The Prospect of Immortality which was produced at the end of a six-year investigation into the practice of cryonics inspired by Robert Ettinger’s work. Murray will be in the gallery singing copies of his book on the 17th of March.
Art and science has often gone hand in hand and The New Immortals proves this. The exhibition is at the gallery until 20th March and is open from 11am until 5pm.
all images belong to the artists – feature image is Judith Alder