French performance artist Abraham Poincheval is never short on ideas of how to isolate himself in strange ways. He once lived in a giant plastic bottle as it traveled along the Rhone River. For two weeks, he lived inside a bear sculpture, subsisting on a bear’s diet of worms and beetles. For another project, he spent an entire week underground with a small stack of books, a headlamp, some freeze-dried food, and water.
For his latest project, Poincheval will live inside a limestone rock for a week. His body shape has been carved out of the rock, which is equipped with a toilet and an air vent. There is also storage space for his food (stewed fruit and puree) and water. The performance piece will be on display at Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Art Museum in Paris. He’s scheduled to enter the rock on Feb. 22.
Poincheval says his solo performances aim to explore how the concept of time and space are different for humans, animals, and objects (like a limestone rock).
“The purpose is to feel the aging stone inside the rock,” said Poincheval. “There is my own breathing, and then the rock which lives, still humid because it was extracted not so long ago from the quarry. So there is that flow, that coming and going, between myself and the stone.”
A few weeks after he emerges from the rock, Poincheval will sit inside a glass encasement and incubate chicken eggs with his body heat until they hatch. That project is expected to last for 21 to 26 days.
Watch our video to see the rock and hear the artist describe his plans.