06/26/2011 07:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Julijonas Urbonas' 'Euthanasia Coaster' And The Art Of The Amusement Park

The "Euthanasia Coaster," a roller-coaster designed to be fatal, is a conceptual art piece and model for a more pleasant way to die.

The sinister-looking sculpture, which starts with a 500 meter drop and then subjects the imaginary rider to a series of loops designed to cause loss of consciousness and death, looks like it might have been designed by a James Bond villain.

The actual designer, an unusual PhD student named Julijonas Urbonas, conducts his doctoral research in "Gravitational Aesthetics" at London's Royal College Of Art and intends the piece as "food for thought."

We don't always respect the narrative potential of roller coasters, Urbonas says, or the extent to which a rider's experience can be manipulated by a clever designer. In this case, the loops induce hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in the brain, which is often described as pleasant. Just before passing out, the rider would experience euphoria one last time.

Urbonas insists that there are many other stories to be told with the roller coaster medium, even if they may be flights of fancy for now: "The coaster is extremely bulky and grandiose, but this heaviness is balanced by the aesthetics of experiential, functional and sculptural lightness devoted to the dignified death of a human being."

Watch the video below for more, and read the fascinating interview on We Make Money Not Art.

Euthanasia Coaster from Julijonas Urbonas on Vimeo.