Sussex ArtBeat

Art on show in Brighton & Hove and Sussex

Art Show and Events: The New Immortals ** 20 Feb – 20 Mar 2016 ** Phoenix Brighton

20 February – 20 March 2016

Open Weds – Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Late openings:
25 February & 17 March until 8 pm
Preview: Friday, 19 February, 6 – 8 pm

the new immortals_god_320
Judith Alder
angela smith_untitled etching_320
Angela Smith

Fleur Alston

Duncan Poulton - No Body (2015) video still 7_320
Duncan Poulton

Gabriela Sancisi


Guyan Porter
RachelCohen_Mummified Apples_sm_320
Rachel Cohen
Thank you to everyone who supported
The New Immortals Kickstarter campaign!
An exhibition exploring ideas about immortality in an age of scientific miracles.

New work by Judith Alder with Fleur Alston, Murray Ballard, Rachel Cohen, Cat Ingrams, Anna Macdonald, Guyan Porter, Duncan Poulton, Gabriella Sancisi and Angela Smith.

In an age when scientists can create, manipulate and sustain life to an extent once unimaginable, 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. Philosopher Stephen Cave theorises that in the current day such tales of immortality have shifted from myth, magic and religion to a modern form of faith which is invested in science, medicine and technology.

We are constantly confronted by an avalanche of media reports announcing so-called ground-breaking and miraculous developments in science and technology. Life expectancy continues to rise and we are told that we are in the midst of a longevity revolution.  Leading bio-ethicist, Professor John Harris says in his essay, Intimations of Immortality,  “It is unlikely that we can stop the progression to increased life-spans and even “immortality,” and it is doubtful that we can produce coherent ethical objections. We should start thinking now about how we can live decently and creatively with the prospect of such lives.”

It is against this backdrop that artist/curator Judith Alder has undertaken a period of research extending over two years, during which she has been talking 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 and technology might mean for us as humans. She asks, ‘Could indefinite human life become a reality? Would we really want to live forever? and What difference would it make if we never died?’

In The New Immortals exhibition, Alder brings together a group of artists who offer their own perspectives on these questions. The work ranges from Murray Ballard’s photographic journeys exploring cryonics to Gabriella Sancisi’s video portrait of a newborn, to Alder’s piece in which a traditional hymn turns into a song of praise for science and technology. Duncan Poulton creates a virtual world from appropriated materials that hints at a different kind of immortality, while Fleur Alston creates photographic mandalas celebrating the lichen, an organism distinguished by its longevity. An installation by Cat Ingrams and etchings by Angela Smith highlight the confusing array of scientific and pseudo-scientific information that bombards us, and musings on hope, faith and belief are presented within work by Anna Macdonald, Rachel Cohen and Guyan Porter.

Each artist grapples with the subject at hand, only to reveal further, even more perplexing levels of uncertainty. Placed within a semi-narrative framework conceived by Alder and created in collaboration with the artists, the exhibits draw gallery visitors through a series of interconnected spaces in which mortality is confronted, belief is questioned, and the elusive elixir of life continues to baffle and inspire in equal measure.


Five Saturdays: 20, 27 February, 5, 12, 19 March, 11 am – 5 pm, free drop in.
Join Judith Alder and special guests for informal conversations around art, science and immortality. A specific theme will be explored each week. Suitable for adults; children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. There will also be an activity table available for children. Please check back for details and a timetable for each session.

Sessions 1 & 2 (20 & 27 Feb):  Featuring specialists from The Centre for Regenerative Medicine, who will be in the gallery from 11 am – 3 pm. Find out what sort of work scientists and researchers are carrying out and how it might make a difference to our lives.

Saturday, 20 February, 11.30 am – 4.30 pm, £40, booking essential, register here
A drawing workshop with exhibitor Angela Smith using the exhibition as inspiration.


Thursday, 25 February, £5 at the door / free to BMN and Phoenix Brighton members.
Exhibition viewing (from 5 pm with curator Judith Alder) followed by talk at 6.30 pm by artist Anna Dumitriu on her experience of cross-disciplinary collaborative working. This event will be of particular interest to artists who wish to develop their work and networks in this field. Further details here


Monday, 7 March, 11.30 am – 5 pm, £7 including light lunch, register here
Presented in partnership with Brighton and Sussex Medical School, this symposium brings together artists, scientists, and academics to explore the works and issues in The New Immortals and the value of art/science collaboration in communicating difficult concepts.

Thursday, 17 March, 6 – 8 pm
This new book, The Prospect of Immortality, by photographer Murray Ballard is the result of a six-year investigation into the practice of cryonics inspired by scientist Robert Ettinger’s work and his book, The Prospect of Immortality. Join Murray in the gallery where he will be signing copies of his book, on sale at £30. Late night gallery opening until 8pm.

Interested in immortality? For further watching, reading and thinking, check out our resources page.

The New Immortals is supported by Arts Council England, the Artists’ Benevolent Fund, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Phoenix Brighton. Thank you to everyone who generously supported the Kickstarter campaign.

Source: The New Immortals – Phoenix Brighton

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