Despite all the things science tells us about life, nobody really knows what it’s like to experience death. However, people who have undergone near-death experiences often come back with tales of what happened after their hearts stopped—from leaving their bodies and seeing themselves from above to waking up in a meadow.
Now a new virtual reality simulation tries to give people a taste of what it’s like to die. Artist Shaun Gladwell has created an exhibit called ‘Passing Electrical Storms’ which ‘guides participants through a simulated de-escalation of life, from cardiac arrest to brain death’.
According to the Daily Star, You’re asked to lie down on a fake hospital bed and hooked up to a heart rate monitor. Apparently the simulation can be so unsettling that there are staff on hand to ‘pull you out’ if it gets too uncomfortable.
Marcus Crook, a Melbourne local who also has an exhibit at the festival, explained what the VR death experience is really like. In a TikTok video, he said: “I can see how people would say it causes anxiety and panic. It definitely borderlines that—they do put your finger on a heart rate monitor and then tell you to raise your hand if you’ve had enough and want to quit.
Marcus continued: “What happens is you’re laying down, the bed vibrates, you flatline. The doctors come over the top of you. You can see yourself in the goggles and they try to revive you—it doesn’t work. Then you float up out past them into space and it keeps going.”