Finding a needle in a haystack

ARTnews reports that the artist Sven Sachsalber recently died at the young age of 33. Sachsalber's most famous work, which Chuck posted about in 2014, was when he spent two days searching for, and eventually finding, a needle hidden in a haystack.

Some of Sachsalber's other works (or 'performances') included:

  • Completing, with his father, a 13,200-piece puzzle of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam
  • Eating a poisonous mushroom
  • Spending 24 hours in a room with a cow

For whatever it's worth, Sachsalber wasn't the first person to try and find a needle in a haystack. Legendary publicist Jim Moran did the exact same stunt back in 1939.

Popular Science - July 1939
Note: despite what the caption says, Moran did find the needle.
He then sent it to the Smithsonian.

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 22, 2020
     Category: Publicity Stunts | Homages, Pastiches, Tributes and Borrowings | Performance Art | Obituaries

Mythbusters did it. Result:
While it is possible to find a needle in a haystack, even using specialized machines to do so takes a considerable amount of time, particularly since bone needles cannot be picked up by magnets. The task is difficult enough to still make the saying viable.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 12/22/20 at 12:23 PM
Forget that, been done.

What I'd like to do is to try and find a hay in a needle stack. Ouch!
Posted by Jessica on 12/22/20 at 04:09 PM
In today's world, not particularly difficult or time consuming. Rent/borrow/steal a metal detector intended for a food manufacturing line, fork the hay onto the conveyor, presto! For something the size of a needle, you don't even need a particularly sensitive one, and you can run it at top speed (these are made to find and reject tiny shavings from processing equipment).
Posted by Phideaux on 12/22/20 at 11:43 PM
@Phideaux...Oh sure take the fun out of it:)
Posted by Steve E. on 12/23/20 at 11:57 AM
For those pesky bone needles, dump the hay into a swimming pool and mix, then wait. The hay will float while the needle will fall to the bottom.
Posted by yudith on 12/24/20 at 06:25 AM
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