Breadwoman is a character who wears rags and a loaf of bread on her head while she dances to electronic music. She was created in the mid-1980s by performance artist Anna Homler, apparently having emerged from Homler's "background as an anthropologist and her inexplicable desire to wear bread." Although Breadwoman's mask was originally a hollowed-out loaf of bread, it's now made out of latex.
Back in September 2017, artist Noëmi Lakmaier lay still for nine hours as a team of balloon assistants and a "bondage engineer" attached 20,000 balloons to her immobilised body. Eventually she achieved lift-off, but since she was inside the Sydney Opera House, she didn't float away.
This was the second time she performed this piece, having first performed it in St. Leonard's Church. Designboom.com explains:
the ropes that bind the artist’s immobilized body reflect bondage techniques, including shibari — a japanese art form used to emphasize the female form. in reference to lakmaier’s body, the installation seeks to raise further questions about idealized body standards. in ‘cherophobia’, the artist becomes ‘the (imperfect) object of the viewer’s gaze.’
Belgian artist Mikes Poppe recently chained himself to a four-ton block of marble and then attempted to free himself by chiseling away at it. His goal was to demonstrate how the "inescapable burden of history" imprisons artists.
Nineteen days later he gave up and asked to be freed, admitting that he had "underestimated the marble." Despite this, he said, "I don’t see that as a failure... On the contrary. I have been able to communicate with the public. I am now going to read the many comments in the guestbook and take a warm bath.”
In 1974, German artist Joseph Beuys arrived in America for the first time. Upon landing at the airport, he was transported by ambulance directly to the Rene Block Gallery in New York City. He emerged from the ambulance wrapped in a grey felt blanket and was then placed in a room with a wild coyote where he spent the next three days.
According to kidsofdada.com: "The coyote’s behavior changed throughout the three days, becoming sometimes cautious, detached, aggressive and then friendly." Also, at one point, "Fifty new copies of the Wall Street Journal were added to the closed space, which the coyote acknowledged by urinating on them."
After the three days were up, Beuys was again wrapped in the felt blanket and was returned to the airport.
Beuys called this performance art piece "I like America and America likes me."
Chuck mentioned a few weeks ago that French performance artist Abraham Poincheval would soon be sitting on a dozen eggs until they hatch. He's now well into the process of doing that and has hatched nine eggs already. [News24.com]
Poincheval hatching eggs
Back in 1946, the legendary PR man Jim Moran did something similar. He sat on an ostrich egg for 19 days until it hatched, to publicize the movie The Egg and I.
Jim Moran with egg
But the most famous case of a human incubating an egg may be from 1958 when Mrs. Ella Petry carried an egg in her cleavage for 21 days to prove that she could hatch an egg that way. It started as a dare in her neighborhood pub. And yes, the egg did eventually hatch.
The Louisville Courier-Journal - June 4, 1958
Mrs. Petry's stunt was recreated in 1969 for Lord Snowdon's TV documentary "Love of a Kind" that explored the strange relationships between people and their pets. The documentary then sparked an extended debate in the British press over whether it was actually possible for a woman to incubate an egg that way. Would there be enough warmth? The scientific director of the British Egg Marketing Board eventually weighed in on the debate and said yes, it should be possible. In fact, it was apparently an ancient custom among peasant women in Italy to do exactly this. The gender of a chick hatched in a woman's bosom is said to foretell the gender of the woman's next child.
Daily Sketch reporter Erica Wallace recreates Ella Petry's incubation stunt. Life - Dec 12, 1969
Vice.com reports that artists in Kashmir have started walking cabbages (and other vegetables) on a leash, as a way to protest the ongoing military conflict over the region. One artist explains: "What I wanted to do basically is juxtapose the absurdity of this performance with what was happening around—the structures of violence that I was seeing around me."
These Kashmir artists cite the Chinese artist Han Bing as inspiration, because he was the first to "walk a cabbage."
Australian artist Stelarc is growing an ear on his arm. It's been a project of his years in the making. He first got the idea back in 1996, and it took a while to find doctors willing to do the work. But the ear is pretty well formed now. His final goal is to insert a microphone into his arm ear, and then connect the microphone to the internet, so that people around the world can hear through his arm ear.
He says, "People's reactions range from bemusement to bewilderment to curiosity, but you don't really expect people to understand the art component of all of this."
For for Frieze art fair in New York, performance artist Kris Lemsalu is lying very still for three-and-a-half hours beneath a giant fake turtle shell decorated with giant rhinestones. And that's it. She calls it an inhabited sculpture. [forbes.com]
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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