Artist buried for three days under busy Australian road

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SYDNEY, June 18, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – An artist has emerged from three days
entombed in a steel box under a busy Australian road in a performance billed
as a tribute to victims of totalitarian violence.

Mike Parr, 73, fasted during his time underground, with oxygen pumped into
the 1.7-metre (5.5-foot) by 2.2-metre container to keep him alive as traffic
drove on overhead.

He had bedding, water, a waste bucket, a sketchpad and pencils for the
stunt in Hobart, part of Tasmania state’s annual Dark Mofo festival, which
celebrates darkness through large-scale public art, food, film and music.

“The anxiety of the artist’s disappearance is the point of the piece,”
organisers said.

It was also an attempt to highlight “the shadow cast by the genocidal
violence of 19th century British colonialism in Australia”, they added.

Parr, who had been buried with only a small light, clambered out of his
prison on a ladder late Sunday after heavy machinery carefully removed the
asphalt that had sealed him in.

He exited without saying a word or acknowledging a crowd that had gathered
in the rain. He is expected to detail his experience in a public forum on
Tuesday.

“He is an endurance performance artist and he’s been doing this for many
years, so his body is quite used to doing this,” Dark Mofo curator Jarrod
Rawlins told reporters.

While some welcomed the feat as thought-provoking, others were left
baffled.

“People work a lifetime underground. This goose spends three days in a box
doing frig all, calls it art and it makes the news,” an unimpressed Rodney
Gibbison said on Facebook.

James Hank de Ridder added: “If I could only get the last five minutes of
my life back after watching this absolutely pointless exercise.”

Parr is no stranger to controversial performances, having once used an axe
to hack off his prosthetic arm, which he had filled with minced meat and
blood, in front of a shocked audience.

Dark Mofo, produced by Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, has sparked
controversy elsewhere this year, drawing the ire of some Christians when
inverted crosses were erected on the city’s waterfront.