Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Euthanasia Coaster

Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas is a freak.

He appears to be a somewhat respected freak, at least in his particular European artistic niche. He is currently Vice-Rector for Art at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. And in the last few years he has received grants and awards from the Research Council of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and a "Public Prize, New Technological Art Award" from the Foundation Liedts-Meesen in Gent, Belgium.

The above is part of the biographical information on his website, which is actually quite slick.

In 2010 he designed The Euthanasia Coaster.

From his site:
Euthanasia Coaster (2010) is a hypothetic death machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. 
Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death. Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in aeronautics/space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful. Celebrating the limits of the human body, this ‘kinetic sculpture’ is in fact the ultimate roller coaster: John Allen, former president of the famed Philadelphia Toboggan Company, once said that “the ultimate roller coaster is built when you send out twenty-four people and they all come back dead. This could be done, you know.” 
“Euthanasia Coaster” is nothing but a falling trajectory, curved and tangled in such a way that would leave nobody apathetic, neither the passenger,nor the spectator. Where it lands to it is up to the public to decide. It is a prop for non-existent horror movie, a real fiction, a black humour scenography, social sci-fi design, the world’s most extreme ride, a mourning sculpture, a monument for the end of the carousel evolution, a gravitational weapon, the very last trip… 
Since its presentation to the public, the project has become a unique media phenomenon. It has drawn enormous attention from the public and received extremely extensive coverage from international media. The content and form of the feedback ranged from special TV shows, dedicated songs, a film script, a series of virtual replications, a project for school science fair, and a tattoo to knee-jerk online comments and thorough expert discussions. The project was awarded the Public Prize of New Technological Art of Update 2013, Ghent, Belgium.
A project for a school science fair. I love that.

He doesn't mention that the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) exhibited the design last year.

So, is this performance art? Black humor? Is he serious?

Well, as he sort of states in the blurb, he's as serious as you want to him to be. One has to understand that for his form of "artistic expression," seriousness itself is an elastic concept. Everything is serious and nothing is. The important thing is wearing the proper smirk, preferably while holding a glass of chablis at the gallery.

Here's a video where the artist describes his conception. See if you can watch it without having the desire to knock that smirk off his face.

If the Euthanasia Coaster isn't your thing, perhaps you might enjoy last year's Cumspin:
an orgasm enhancing funfair machine. Based on the principle of a centrifuge, it exposes the love riders to variable gravitational forces. Not only does such an extreme sex environment introduce to new love positions but also pushes the peaks of pleasure to new dimensions.
Then there's the the Emancipation Kit, also called the Vomit Simulator, which I'll leave to your imagination.

If anyone wonders why Europe is now so spiritually and morally defenseless in the face of a barbarian invasion and looming civil war, one need only review the case of Julijonas Urbonas.

Here's yesterday's Daily Mail with more: 
The white-knuckle ride to your death: 'Euthanasia rollercoaster' will be the last thrill you ever get – although experts warn you may spend your final moments feeling SICK
  • Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas designed a rollercoaster to kill
  • The 'Euthanasia Coaster' suffocates the brain through extreme G-force
  • Designer says the fatal journey is 'euphoric', 'elegant and meaningful'
  • But a top US neurosurgeon says it's riders would die nauseas
Not content with designing rollercoasters for the living, a Lithuanian designer has created plans for a 'death rollercoaster' that would provide a 'euphoric' way for people to kill themselves. 
Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas says the killing machine will end people's lives with 'euphoria and pleasure'. 
But a top brain expert has said the mechanism is more likely to leave people feeling sick. 
The rollercoaster, which was designed while Urbonas was a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, uses 'extreme g-force' to kill people as they hurtle down 500 metres to reach a speed of 100 metres per second (g-force 10) on seven loop-de-loops. 
'Your blood is rushed to your lower extremities so there is a lack of blood in your brain, so your brain starts to suffocate. When your brain starts to suffocate, people become euphoric.

'Usually pilots experience such extreme forces for just a few seconds, but riders in the rollercoaster experience it for one minute and nobody has experienced this for such a long time,' he said when presenting the design. 
'Unfortunately, the likelihood of any pleasure and euphoria being produced is low; nausea and discomfort would be more probable,' Dr Damasio wrote on the Design and Violence blog message board run by New York's Museum of Modern Art which exhibited the design last summer. 
The Lithuanian designer said his death machine could help 'control populations' and let people leave the world with a thrill. 
Urbonas, who says he has been in roller coaster development since childhood, insists the project is more of an artistic expression and it's peoples' reactions to the rollercoaster that he finds most interesting. 
'Some of them say that the death coaster changed the way they experience amusement rides, others claim they would never ride coasters again,' he wrote in response to Dr Damasio's critique. 
Defending his design, he also said the machine could counter 'boring' methods of euthanasia used in countries where the practice is legal. 
'It [euthanasia] is executed in an extremely boring fashion, proposing 'humane' voluntary death could be more meaningful, personal, ritualistic,' he wrote, while pointing out that he is not advocating for assisted suicide.
He adds that although the euphoric feeling that comes from 'GLOK or G-force induced Loss Of Consciousness' would also be accompanied by nausea and discomfort, it would not last long. 
'The talk on pleasure could also extend to exhilarating sensations that lure millions coaster fans. In addition to these physiological pleasures, I want to stress, the death coaster hints at the possibility for a specific kind of semantic pleasure: an alternative ritualized death appealing to both the individual and the mourning public,' he writes. 
'Of course, it is not for everybody, very much like thrill rides and horror movies.' 
But before you panic don't worry - the contraption hasn't been built (except for a scale model).

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