Etude 4

"Etude 4" was a collaboration between The Visionary Existence Laboratory, HUMlab and Reality Research Center, a Helsinki based performance laboratory. "Etude 4" was part of "12 etudes on everlasting life" which is a series of performative pieces that attempt to find 12 ways to practice a life everlasting. Every month during 2010 a new etude will be performed. "12 etudes on everlasting life" was part of Reality Research Centers research plan for 2010.

Maybe the greatest issue approached by religions is the ability of humans to survive. Belief and spiritual practice are seen as a way to conquer death by somehow joining divinity. At the same time immortality and eternity are concepts that are hard to grasp. Therefore they are handled through negation – the infinite can only be uttered through pronouncing the finite.

Each etude is created between performance artist Tuomas Laitinen and another artist and will be worked on for 3 uninterrupted days. The etudes are collected into a manual of everlasting life practice.

The subject of the fourth etude was technology and it was performed in HUMlab of Umeå University Sweden on April 28th at 5pm-8pm in 2010(Swedish time) but a version of that performance will also be available forever in the Temple of Everlasting Life built inside the virtual world Second Life.

The fourth etude was done by Carl-Erik Engqvist and Tuomas Laitinen.


Level I
Create an new version of you as an avatar, a virtual self.
Move into virtual reality as an avatar.
When in virtual reality, build a site that is participatory and in a state of constant change.

Level II
When the technology for it is available, upload your conciousness to a computer and move to virtual reality permanently.

An opening ceremony of The Temple of Everlasting Life was held in HUMlab of Umeå University on April 28th at 5pm. The ceremonial space contained prayers, a possibility to visit the temple, and the Office, where a statement of belief was presented. By agreeing to the statement, you could also take part in the communion.
The Temple is open forever in the virtual world Second Life. It is accessible through an avatar. If you don’t have an avatar in Second life yet, you can download the program from the same page. Second Life will instruct you on creating an avatar. You will find the The Temple of Everlasting Life on the top of the mountain.

[To pray follow these steps:
1. Go to;
2. Download Processing for your appropriate operating system.
3. Install and start the program.
4. Copy the prayer below into the main window of Processing.
5. Press "Run".]


int width = 1920;
int height = 1200;
float y_offset = 0;
float z_rot = 0;
boolean color_switch = true;
Painter painters[] = new Painter[256];
int ticks = 200;
float z_rot_increase = 0.15;
float y_offset_increase = 0.5;
float ticks_threshold = 18;

void setup() {
  size(width, height, P3D);
  colorMode(RGB, 1);
  background(0.0, 0.0, 0.0);
void draw() {
  if(ticks > ticks_threshold) {
    boolean slot_found = false;
    for(int i = 0; i < painters.length; i++) {
    if(painters[i] == null && slot_found == false) {
      painters[i] = new Painter();
      slot_found = true;
      if(color_switch) {
        painters[i].paint_color = 1;
        color_switch = false;
        else {
          painters[i].paint_color = 0;
          color_switch = true;
    ticks = 0;
  else {
  for(int i = 0; i < painters.length; i++) {
    if(painters[i] != null) {
      if(painters[i].y_offset > 1200) {
         painters[i] = null;

class Painter {
  float z_rot = 0;
  float y_offset = 0;
  float paint_color = 1;
  Painter() {
  void draw() {
    translate(width/2, height/2);
    z_rot += z_rot_increase;
    fill(paint_color, paint_color, paint_color);
    ellipse(0, y_offset, 50, 50);
    y_offset += y_offset_increase;

Statement of Belief
You have predetermined qualities and defects.
You have a limited time of +- 100 years. Your time expires in a steady, monorhythmical pace.
You are constrained in a limited space of approx. 0,4 m3, which is portable at a relatively slow speed.
You need a regular amount of nutrition and lubrication and a waste system.
You are mostly dominated by impulses related to reproduction.

You have freedom of individual manifestation, which is not dependent of sex, class, race, sexuality or any predetermined qualities.
Your time is relative, non-chronological and reversible.
You have unlimited space.
You are self-sufficient.
Reproduction is obsolete.