Joseph Sullivan

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When I die I wish to have my unembalmed naked body placed in a simple coffin and buried traditionally six feet under the ground. However, I wish to have a fiber optic video camera and light (the type used in performing a colonoscopy) illuminate and continuously videotape my decaying body. A video cable will run from the coffin into a monitor and computer housed in a simple granite mausoleum.

Every day stills will be taken from the video to compose a time lapse record of the decay of my body. Visitors can either watch the video or replay the captured time lapse footage.

Excerpt from Chapter 4, Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

"One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endured with life. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed? It was a bold question, and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries. I resolved these circumstances in my mind and determined thence-forth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. Unless I had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome and almost intollerable. To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. I became acquainted with the science of anatomy, but this was not sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human body. In my education my father had taken the greatest precautions that my mind should be impressed with no supernatural horrors. I do not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition or to have feared the apparition of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a church yard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults in charnel-houses. My attention was fixed upon every object, the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings. I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming check of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analysing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me - a light so brilliant and wonderous, yet so simple, that while I became dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was surprised that among so many men of genius who had directed their inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so astonishing a secret.

Remember, I am not recording the vision of a mad man. The sun does not more certainly shine in the heavens than that which I now affirm is true. Some miracle might had produced it, yet the stages of the discovery were distinct and probable. After days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter..."

Joseph Sullivan, artist, musician.

I have lived my life as an artist, striving constantly to be creative in every way. Now I have the possiblity of continuing to be creative even in death.