Suspended animation is a state in which metabolic processes are halted for an extended period of time. In zoology, this state is also known as hibernation. The state is reversible and the suspended organism can be brought back to life virtually intact and fully functional. A number of examples show that the state can be induced, such as in accidents, where an individual was revived after being frozen for 26 days.


Methods to artificially induce suspended animation have been developed on model organisms, like worms, fruit flies, mice, and sheep. However, they have not been fully elaborated for humans. Two clinical trials were designed in an attempt to apply the technique but didn’t succeed. If the method could be refined to permit inducing humans into suspended animation, a new scientific field would come into being, triggering debates and speculations about the possible directions of its applicability.


Animation, Suspended explores a scientific future where the induction of suspended animation is plausible on humans. The work is a result of documented research covering aspects concerning biology, experimentation, applications, and technical limitations. The research was particularly motivated by the interest in understanding an experiment by looking into the process of its fabrication.


Whenever issues regarding the alteration of the natural human state are touched, the general public becomes interested and subsequently gets involved in the topic. By investigating the relationship between experimental procedure and its public outreach, several questions are raised. Firstly, how does an idea become influential? What makes this and certain experiments alike “big” in terms of public outreach? What does the desire for scientific achievement reveal about its authors? In other words, how does the cultural, human, and social background of its protagonist influence the course of scientific research?


In an allegoric way, Animation, Suspended addresses the spectacular and sensational dimensions of scientific discoveries. At the same time, it tries to avoid the dialectics of any dichotomies of success and failure. In doing so, a narrative is constructed around the rationale of suspended animation and its creator(s), as well as the interactions encountered in the process.


Fact Box

November 18, 2013