The end of life is never an easy thing. Facing one’s final moments, planning for it, or even discussing the matter is usually a touchy and emotional topic. Add euthanasia into the conversation, and controversy is soon to follow.
Enter Julijona Uronas, PhD. and his unique approach to the terminal topic. First conceived ten years ago, Dr. Uronas has designed death by way of roller coaster. His Euthanasia Coaster has been a topic of contention ever since.
“Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, tunnel vision to loss of consciousness. Ultimately, though, the ride ends in death.
As a coaster even Kevorkian would envy, this ultimate thrill ride takes its riders to the very edge and beyond. Designed with 7 inversions and one killer 500-meter drop, the rider is not expected to survive the first loop.
The ten-second plummet gives a graceful force of 10g’s for a full minute to the rider as they enter the first of the seven loops. With such force the brain is starved of oxygen, a process called cerebral hypoxia. At the very least, the first loop alone would ensure the passenger passes out before the next six (which ensures that they do not wake up).
While the 1600+ foot drop may only last ten seconds, the two minute journey towards the coaster’s peak leaves plenty of time for contemplation and the opportunity to change one’s mind or make peace with a life lived up until that point.
Julijona Urbonas, Vice-Rector for Art at Vilnius Academy of Arts and PhD student in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, London describes the harrowing coaster:
Euthanasia Coaster is nothing but a falling trajectory, curved and tangled in such a way that would leave nobody apathetic, neither the passenger, nor the spectator. Where it lands is up to the public to decide. It is a prop for a non-existent horror movie, a real fiction, a black humour scenography, a social sci-fi design, the world’s most extreme ride, a mourning sculpture, a monument for the end of the carousel evolution, a gravitational weapon, the very last trip…
For now, no one seems to want to build this final ride, but scale models do exist. This “hypothetic death machine” is but one (humane?) option for an end of life experience.
Definitely not for the faint of heart, this coaster could offer a thrilling, peaceful passing for those who enjoy extreme thrill rides and are, for whatever reason, ready to take their last ride.
What are your thoughts on this euthanasia experience? Please politely share your comments below.
Source and images: Julijonas Urbonas website