Anabiosis, the medical term for revival after apparent death, was a work that addressed our society’s current relationship with ‘live’ digital information, and the way we are being encouraged to negotiate new and constantly changing relationships to technology. The artist’s heart rate was measured constantly by a personal heart rate monitor for a period of 14 days, 24 hours a day, and transmitted live using mobile technology to a large electronic display in Central London. It displayed the text ‘Simon Tegala’s heart rate is …125 bpm’
On an accompanying website Tegala commissioned acclaimed author Deborah Levy, who updated a fictionalised diary of vignettes surrounding the varying beats, as a counterpoint to the analytical information. The heart is a highly potent symbol which has its own mythology, and means many different things to different cultures. The project was launched on Valentine’s Day 1998, and allowed a moment where an audience could pause for a few moments and perhaps consider their mortality, their anonymity in a large city, or the identity of this individual.
Anabiosis was shortlisted for Imaginaria, The Cap Gemini Digital Art Award and exhibited at the ICA, London in 1998.