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Thursday, May 31st, 2001

Time Event
Trnscrptn: Performance of Reanimates, the; Soma Project, the
"We have tests to . . . test the reanimates. [interrupting the interviewer] I developed some of the tests myself. Well . . . for example, we have the maze test. It's a full-sized labyrinth. Full-sized meaning you can't see over it, but it's really quite small in terms of overall length. They have to make their way to the exit. We call it Italy. A few of us have . . . artistic hands. We painted the maze up like Italy. You know, the tiny alleys? We put windows and a little ice cream stand and everything. [laughs] There's a busty woman leaning out of a window smoking, and you have corpses running around below, bumping into walls. [laughs over the interviewer's question] They don't run, not really. They're very slow in the maze, horrendously slow. If you put enough of them inside at a time, a couple will eventually reach the exit, but it's purely chance. Absolutely no learning curve that we've observed. The same ones who've come out, if you put them back in, they'll . . . stand around in a corner. Get stuck in a cul-de-sac. [laughs] . . . You haven't seen surreal until you've seen five human corpses stumbling through a mock-up of Italy, let me tell you. It would give me nightmares if it wasn't so damn funny. [interviewer speaks] We put them through flash-card exercises. See if they can recognize shapes, pictures, colors. Actually, they tend to recognize the human face . . . they do well with simplified depictions of dark spots for eyes, and lines for the nose and the mouth, that sort of thing. Considerably worse with photo-realistic faces, but still . . . it's measurable. One of the big problems of the project is that, as poor as reanimates perform, their performance deteriorates over time, as the . . . nervous system deteriorates, the brain stem fails. It's difficult to stave off the gangrene, and infection can set in. With transfusions and generative treatment we can revitalize them for a few days, then for a few hours . . . then we can't do anything. There will always be a wall . . . we push up against. The retardation of cell death isn't indefinite. [interviewer speaks] The problem is we're starting with dead bodies. Body chemistry changes drastically after death. We think that with . . . live human subjects . . . we could create a reanimate in reverse order. Through zombification, if you'll excuse the term. Flush out the person without inducing prolonged cellular death. [indecipherable] I've written up the proposal. I think project soma would be a good name. [laughs] Soma death is a 'PC' term . . . It's when a person stops being a person . . . When consciousness is irreversibly lost. [garbled] I feel like one of the ethical pricks when I say that." 1979

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