Do you want to live forever?
We don't know anybody who wants to die.
It seems unfair that our time on this earth is so short. We try to make the most of our time but end up squandering it. Some say that they feel fulfilled at the end of it but they are the lucky few.
Technology has made advancements in life-extension and anti-ageing treatments. Scientists tell us that cellular death seems to be programmed in our DNA and that, perhaps, the process can be altered, halted - reversed, even.
So, is death simply the result of bad biology - an 'unintelligent' design? Or, does mother nature know something that we don't?
Is our planned obsolescence for our own good? Are there moral, religious or philosophical reasons why we shouldn't live forever?
We'd like to know what they are, because we're having trouble getting past the idea that death is for certain.
We notice that the public has become obsessed with vampires. Their dark and feral lives are repulsive and intriguing. But, we suspect, it's their immortality that really makes them interesting. Sure, a stake through the heart is a constant liability but for all intents and purposes they cannot die, because they are already dead.
Throughout history, we have entertained ourselves with tales of heroes in search of immortality like Gilgamesh, the Holy Grail and the Fountain of Youth. Clearly there has been a great yearning to get more time on the clock.
We began to wonder what the world would be like if technology were to deliver immortality to us right now. What would that technology look like? What would the social and moral consequences be of living forever?
I decided to try out a thought experiment. What if there was a company right here, right now, that could offer immortality? How would the public react to it? What kind of stories could be concocted and through whose eyes would they be told?
The result is Everlife: Afterlife Community and Flesh Retirement Home.
We built a Website where the public could interact with such a company - read their news, blogs, updates, documentation... interact with their employees and, ultimately, with the 'undead' themselves.
It's sort of a free-form storytelling device. The posting are hopefully provocative enough to inspire people to respond - to get involved in discussions with the EverLife staff and with one another. Over time, we'll determine what the best course for the story will be by reading the feedback.
Of course, we already have some ideas of what the narrative will end up being but it will be more interesting if the public gets there by themselves. It will feel more organic and more compelling.
I invite you all to go to Everlife, read the materials and post replies. If you want, you can even masquerade as employees of EverLife!
Here at SEAM, you can get involved in the development discussions of the Everlife project and how it unfolds. This is the strategy and nuts-and-bolts part of the storytelling, whereas the Everlife website is for the conceit itself.
I really hope you will join us in this adventure. Pitch in, discuss and make your mark. Do us a favour, though, and try not to break the boundary between fantasy and fiction, as it will result in something more engaging. I think it will be more rewarding for us all that way.