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What it’s like to curl up inside a rock for a week

March 7, 2017 at 6:15 PM EDT
In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, performance artist Abraham Poincheval knows what it's like to be stuck between a rock and a hard place: For an entire week, he lived inside a boulder at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

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In our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to our NewsHour Shares.

French artist Abraham Poincheval makes a living by performing unexpected feats of endurance and isolation. His latest work, stone, was no different.

The NewsHour’s Julia Griffin explains.

JULIA GRIFFIN: For an entire week, Abraham Poincheval was quite literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. In his latest solo act, the performance artist stepped inside a body-shaped nook carved into two halves of a giant limestone rock, and sealed himself in.

The goal, he said beforehand, was to become the beating heart of a massive boulder.

ABRAHAM POINCHEVAL, Performance Artist (through interpreter): The purpose is to feel the aging stone inside the rock. There is that flow, that coming and going between myself and the stone.

JULIA GRIFFIN: To survive his confinement, Poincheval lived off water, dried meats and cartons of soup. His rock was outfitted with air holes, a heart rate monitor and, in case you are wondering, a small amount of storage for bathroom waste.

For seven days, spectators viewed Poincheval on a TV monitor, and responded with mixed reactions.

MAYLIS BOXBERGER, Spectator (through interpreter): It is rather extraordinary. We are asking ourselves, what will he do for a week? How will he live?

FRANCINE NICOLAS, Spectator (through interpreter): It is a happening. That is how I see it. There is no art present there.

JULIA GRIFFIN: His captivity complete, the artist emerged dazed, but happy. And a quick medical check later, he reflected on his entombment.

MAYLIS BOXBERGER (through interpreter): I thank the stone very much for having been so enthusiastic about welcoming, and I think that it took great care of me. There are very big moments of loss of oneself, where suddenly it is, bam, and you no longer know where you are, but you are there. That’s what is great.

JULIA GRIFFIN: In his next artistic endeavor, Poincheval plans to sit on a dozen eggs for 20 days to see if they hatch.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Julia Griffin.

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