non-archival photographic prints, sine wave, extension cords, tactile transducer, amplifier.
Jeremy Bentham, the creator of the panopticon, adjusted his will a week before his death on June 6, 1832 asking that his body be dissected, preserved through taxidermy, and then reconfigured “in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought,” within “an appropriate box or case” for viewing.
In 1967, the first cryonics "patient" is submerged in liquid nitrogen. James Bedford awaits reanimation at the American company Alcor Life Extension Foundation, one of the few specializing in the freezing and preservation of human remains for the price of $200,000 ($80,000 if you chose the neuro-preservation method in which only your brain is kept).
In 2022, a man happened upon an opening for the position of CEO of Alcor Life Extension. In a cover letter, he proposes to the company his martyrdom for the often discredited field through sacrificing the self in Switzerland to become the first ever life-suspended business mogul. Alongside a non-archival printed photograph of my computer screen, which alerts me of its low battery, a photograph of a piano's innards carry the nearly-imperceptible tone of a constant sine wave through an amplifier and tactile transducer.
e-mail to the employment department of Alcor Life Extension Foundation reads as follows:
“ Dear Alcor Life Extension Foundation,
I am writing with a modest proposal and interest in your opening for the position of chief executive officer (CEO). I shall begin my proposition with a question: What is a CEO but a beacon of hope for a company, and said company's followers?
I would like to offer myself up at the world’s first ever life-suspended business leader. Yes, I would like to be the “head” of your company, neuro-cryo-logically speaking. As you may be reading this, I imagine there is a fateful sigh of mere revelry and simultaneous lament, at the thought of this opportunity for vigor in spite, and for absolute progress. Yes, in fact, a company boasting such faith in its product could call for no short of a standing ovation. But, the problem arises: euthanasia and it’s cowardly illegality. I have a solution: Switzerland! Hallelujah! Switzerland has legal practice of Euthaenasia, meaning that all that would be needed of you is to fly me to Switzerland to begin procedure. (Of course, if you take me up on my offer I would like to also receive the procedure approximately a week or so after my arrival, as I’ve never been to Switzerland, and have heard that it is lovely, as well as understanding that the country's chocolatiers are just as masterful as the country's physicians!)
As a CEO, I seek to achieve what I like to refer to as "on the dime morality", and by this, I mean more specifically the kind of morality that has transformed itself into being highly coercive to a client, and therefore, highly profitable to a company. One of the many ways I seek to do this, is to create a digital, time-based manifesto in the form of a public broadcast. In this broadcast, I will read off a public (and dare I say, gut-wrenchingly sincere) apology for the cryonics industry's slight misstep in early development in which we have disregarded some stainless steel canisters containing liquid nitrogen and human remains. (Of course, in our defense, this was the result of a halt in payment from the patient's family! Which, similar to the neglect of many memorial sites after 20- 40 years, is quite in line with many death practices! Not to mention our country’s rich history of building monuments to the excellence of sports in the form of entertainment arenas on top of mass grave sites.) Indeed, though I believe we as cryonicists should be not at blame for the disregarding of these former patients, I do believe that issuing an apology as CEO would be rather profitable for Alcor, especially as it would set us apart from other cryonics companies in dedicating ourselves to this misstep never happening again.
In order to get this life-long pledge of integrity across to our followers, I intend to resume this public broadcast apology with my euthanasia in Switzerland followed by my prompt decapitation and vitrification. Of course, ideally a CEO should be suspended with their entire body, to become fit in scale to the level of pilgrimage that would become of my body, but as we all know, as I will be overseas and not in Scottsdale, AZ as the time of my "legal death", the only option for preserving my brain's cellular structure is decapitation. Yes, I know what you're thinking, "this would be somewhat disturbing for public broadcast viewers to witness!" But, if we have learned anything from public floggings, beheadings, and lynchings, it’s that, the more grandiose and vulgar the gesture, the better to get our point across! Not to mention, the effect this would have on increasing the general populations fear of death, therefore increasing profit.
As you may be able to glean from my dedication to re-legitimizing the field of cryonics, I truly believe I fulfill one of the most important job qualifications on your listing: "a demonstrable understanding of and long-term commitment to cryonics philosophy and principles". And though I lack "basic understanding of business operations principles and processes, including sales, fundraising, finance and accounting, legal, human resources, information technology, and asset management", I do believe that this qualification should not apply to me as I will of course, be accomplishing more in my role as an object of scientific-religious martyrdom (not to mention that unfortunately when anyone is pronounced "legally dead", I regret to admit that I doubt their business experience traveling alongside their cellular integrity to the afterlife.)
I hope this proposal finds you well and please do contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, as well as for my headshots, as I assume the visual register of my body will make a deal of difference in your decision as whether or not to indict me into the history of this brave field.
Best, Jacksun Bein ”
on view as part of Maya Bykuc's Content Farm 'Proposal Proposal' exhibition, 2023.
exhibition documentation by Maya Bykuc.