This paper presents my project, Euthanasia Coaster, an alternative euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to take the life of a human being. The text will outline the crucial aspects of the project’s development: engineering, physiology, ethics, fiction design, and conceptualisation. It will also include some notes on the quite extensive and diverse feedback the project has received from the public and media, with contributions from scientific, medical and technological experts as well as those with artistic, ethical and entertainment backgrounds.
Euthanasia Coaster was developed as a part of my PhD research on the topic, “Gravitational Aesthetics,” an exploration of the interplay between gravity, aesthetics and technologies. The rudiments of the idea of the coaster started to emerge at a later stage of the research, while sketching some ideas on the concept of the dead body (in terms of disembodying trends in design and cultural development as well as exhaustion of aesthetics of amusement park rides) which has been a critical model for the whole thesis. These sketchy ideas turned into a design thought experiment, hypothesising what the ultimate roller coaster would be like. The R&D of the idea involved diverse approaches, both theoretical and studio-led, and different kinds of skills and expertise. I have consulted with roller coaster engineers, an expert in mechanical engineering simulation, an aircraft stress analyst, aerospace physiologists, and a suicide psychologist.