This disquieting installation piece by artist Revital Cohen called The Immortal is all about what’s not there. It features a number of life support machines, including a dialysis machine, a heart and lung machine, an infant incubator, a mechanical ventilator, and an intraoperative cell salvage machine. But instead of being connected to an infirm human being, they are only connected to each other.
Using lengths of tubing and salt water, Cohen leaves a human body absent and instead lets the machines circulate fluid between themselves. The result is a creepy, unnerving scene — all the most uncomfortable sounds and imagery of modern medicine but beautiful in its spare, mechanical precision.
Writing about the work on his website, Cohen says that it is meant to call to highlight the inherently biological nature of these machines, and the great lengths humans go to in order to cheat death. He writes:
The Immortal is occupied with the compelling and discomforting nature of these objects, the products of our attempts to conquer biology with engineering.
- This stairway is made entirely out of salt
- As is everything in this picture
- Watch as these quadrotors build a tower, for art
- Don’t step in the art, ok?