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Emerging trajectories in art, science, and technology.

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The Immortal – Life-support machines modified to ‘breathe’ in a closed circuit

A number of life-support machines are connected to each other, circulating liquids and air in attempt to mimic a biological structure. This is an installation by Revital Cohen who modified and connected organ replacement machines together to have them ‘breathe’ in a closed circuit.

The Immortal project investigates human dependence on electronics, the desire to make machines replicate organisms and our perception of anatomy as reflected by biomedical engineering. I first came across this installation on Régine’s wmmna blog few weeks ago followed by Revital’s interview by Régine on ResonanceFM. Through some considerable modifications, Revital managed to connect heart-lung machine, a dialysis machine, an infant incubator, a mechanical mentilator and an intraoperative cell salvage machine to keep each other alive through circulation of electrical impulses, oxygen and artificial blood – thus create a living machine.

Salted water acts as blood replacement: throughout the artificial circulatory system minerals are added and filtered out again, the blood gets oxygenated via contact with the oxygen cycle, an ECG device monitors the system’s heartbeat.

As the fluid pumps around the room in a meditative pulse, the sound of mechanical breath and slow humming of motors resonates in the body through a comforting yet disquieting soundscape.

The Immortal will be part of Superhuman, an exhibition exploring human enhancement that will open at the Wellcome Collection in London on July 19 and run through October 16, 2012.

Project Page

/via wmmna