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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

The Prospect of Immortality

Murray Ballard

10th Jun - 17th Sep 2011

The result of five year’s unprecedented access and international investigation, Murray Ballard offers an amazing photographic insight into the practice of cryonics: the process of freezing a human body after death in the hope that scientific advances may one day bring it back to life. Premiering at Impressions Gallery, this is Murray Ballard’s first major solo show.

Ballard’s images take the viewer on a journey through the tiny but dedicated international cryonics community, from the English seaside retirement town of Peacehaven; to the high-tech laboratories of Arizona; to the rudimentary facilities of Kriorus, just outside Moscow.  Worldwide there are approximately 200 ‘patients’ stored permanently in liquid nitrogen, with a further thousand people signed up for cryonics after death.

Whilst members have often been ridiculed for their views, Ballard takes an objective stance, allowing the viewer to consider the ethics of the practice, and to decide whether members are caught up in a fantasy world or are actually furthering genuine scientific innovation. Alongside fascinating representations of the technical processes, Ballard sensitively portrays the people involved, offering a human dimension to his account of this 21st century attempt to conquer the age-old quest for immortality.

Within the exhibition, under many of the images you will see a small pixelated square. This is called a QR (Quick Response) code and if you have a smartphone you can scan these codes to listen directly to the people involved, or download short texts that may challenge or confirm your assumptions about cryonics.

Exhibition resources

Click here to download an information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 176kb)
Click here to download a large print information sheet about the exhibition (pdf 136kb)
Click here to download The Prospect of Immortality QR code transcripts (pdf 9.9mb)

Listen again

Click here to listen to Murray Ballard's Artist Talk, recorded at Impressions Gallery on Saturday 16 July 2011 (.mp3 36mb)

What the papers say

Guardian Online
BBC Online

The Guardian Guide (pdf 82kb)

The Telegraph and Argus (pdf 414kb)

British Journal of Photography (pdf 1mb)

Seesaw Magazine

Independent Online

Exhibition on tour

Moral Holiday (group show) Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art 26 October 2012 to 12 January 2013

Patient wrapped in a sleeping bag moments before cryonic-suspension

Patient wrapped in a sleeping bag moments before cryonic-suspension

Murray Ballard

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

Patient wrapped in a sleeping bag moments before cryonic-suspension Perfusion kit Margaret holding a photograph of her mother (who is currently in cryonic-suspension) DNA archive Patient Care Bay (dewar being filled with liquid nitrogen) LN2 vapor extractor and thermo-coupling device Scanning a QR code Visitors listen after scanning a QR code


Who pays for all the research and up keep? I assume the "patients" have to pay a certain amount, but they expect to be frozen until science develops enough for them to be thawed again.. that could be thousands of years (if ever) so the patients money alone surely cannot be enough.

Exhibitions Visitor

We saw a preview a few months ago and I’m really pleased we finally made it to see the show. Looks fabulous. Well done on a fantastic piece of work.

Exhibitions Visitor

Tremendous work, I remember seeing it years ago when the project was just beginning, great to see it mature. I enjoyed the QR tags too, great idea.

Simon Norfolk

Great exhibition loved that you could scan the QR codes to find out much more after the gallery experience was over. Thank you

Exhibition Visitor

Fascinating photographs, my partner and I got caught up in it. Excellent work.

Exhibition Visitor

Fascinating photographs. Impact of the everyday, filing cabinets, scruffy jerry, rigged technology, pseudo medical paraphernalia, portraits of prospective cryogenic ’patients’ is hard to describe seeing it all laid out in this way does beautifully illustrate a bizarrely ordinary quest for immortality and the futility of it all is breath taking. Wonderful Exhibition.

An interesting set of photographs of a little to me know subject matter. Left me wanting to know more.

Exhibition Visitor

Congratulations on presenting us a subject that is not easy to access. Expert photography.

Exhibition Visitor

Congratulations Murray and The Impressions Team on a thoughtful sophisticated and inspiring show.

Exhibition Visitor

Wonderful images on this controversial subject. However for those who pay to have their bodies suspended in liquid nitrogen in the vein hope of cheating death, the word Frankenstein and Carus spring to mind.

I think when you’re dead you stay dead, if you are defrosted in the future your loved ones won’t be there with you, so what’s the point and your going to still have a old body.

Fascinating exhibition, certainly a lot to think about!

I wonder if you are aware that Robert Ettinger passed away yesterday (24/7/11). The author of the book ’The Prospect of Immortality’ was 92 and his body has, naturally, been cryopreserved.

Clare Neruda