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Review: The End of Aging by Michael Schindhelm @ KBH.G

The End of Aging by Michael Schindhelm @ KBH.G

Will medical technology advance to the point that we no longer age and die? If so, what will that mean for resources, population control and society in general? This may seem science fiction but a lot of money is being invested into this field right now, and while it may not be clinically proven yet it could well be a possibility within the next century or even earlier. 

This concept is the jumping off point for Michael Schindhelm’s immersive exhibition that has turned KBH.G into a dilapidated hospital now empty of patients, with only black mortuary bags suggesting there may be only dead bodies left. The CCTV in the reception area suggest it was once inhabited but the graffiti on the walls throughout the installation suggest it’s been many years since a patient was treated here. 

Review: The End of Aging by Michael Schindhelm @ KBH.G

As we wander through a maze of steel doors and padded walls it turns into a dark comedy, a social commentary on a future that may or may not arrive. In films a woman wanders devoid of hope and fear as an ageless person in a world where mortals have died off, a TED-style talk is given on how ageing is a curable disease, a man talks about how death can be kept at bay and how eating is now only for pleasure and not nutrition. It all sounds wild and wacky but it’s based on what’s happening today with individuals like Bryan Johnson investing heavily on a regimen that he believes will massively delay ageing. 

Eventually the path leads to a room where visitors can lie on hospital beds and listen to scientists in this area talking about the latest developments in anti-ageing medication and technology. 

Schindhelm has specifically chosen to base this exhibition in Basel as the city has a dense population of pharmaceutical and life science companies, and these companies often fund the many museums and exhibitions that have turned Basel into a cultural hub. The artist also has a background in theatre and that’s evident from all the fantastic level of detail in the immersive installation from the rusting metal walls to the missing ceiling tiles. 

It’s unclear whether we’ll see the end of ageing in our lifetimes but with this exhibition’s blend of immersive installations, and mix of humour and science, it gets us thinking about whether we will and whether we’d want to live forever. It’s an exhibition that sits with you, long after you’ve left, and for now I’ve only got a few decades to mull it over – but maybe some of the younger visitors will be thinking about these very topics 200 years from now. 

The End of Aging by Michael Schindhelm is on at Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger (KBH.G) until 21st July. Entry is free. 



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