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Le Zapping

Jean Lambert-Wild, My Story is not a Loft, July 2005, photograph by Christophe Raynaud de LageI wrote a little post (New Piece by Jean Lambert-Wild, July 20) on the performances of Jean Lambert-Wild at the Avignon Festival. Apparently, I misunderstood exactly what Lambert-Wild had planned for his final performance there, where he is enclosed in a sarcophagus watching television. The piece is called My Story is not a Loft, a reference to the terrible French reality TV show called Loft Story. Lambert-Wild is enclosed in a sarcophagus for 48 hours, he is fed intravenously, and he does watch a television, and only the visitors can change the channel. However, if you pay 1 euro to change the channel and do so, you will also be administering a small electric shock to the artist through electrodes attached to his skin, as I learned in a review (Lambert-wild s'inflige le supplice du zapping, July 26) by Bruno Masi for Libération (my translation):

It is 9 pm on Sunday, and the director Jean Lambert-Wild is readying himself to go into his bottle, a glass sarcophagus three meters long. He will live inside it for 48 hours, while being fed intravenously. The mattress is covered with stuffed animals of all colors. Above he bid, there is a television. In front of the sarcophagues, there is a large red button: the visitor slides a euro coin into the slot and pushes the buzzer to change the channel. For one or two minutes, he can choose whatever program he likes. Each use of the remote control generates an electric charge that runs through the guinea pig's body. [...]

Seated on the edge of the fountain in the Saint-Louis cloister, Jean Lambert-Wild stares at the many photographers who have come to immortalize his submersion. Silent, he glues electrodes to his neck and stomach. Someone brings him a glass of water, and then he goes to his bed. Once the glass is sealed, the game can begin. As a sort of introduction to the project, Jean Lambert-Wild has written these sentences: "The media are not a medium for any life. Our television screens are the mirrors of a starved city that nourishes its children on the dejection of their parents. Thus are we drawn into an endless life of humiliation, where we haggardly never turn off our televisions, for fear of disappearing."
For some reason, he is also carrying a military rifle. I am surprised that anyone has had the guts to do this, but apparently they have. According to this article, people do change the channels, even though the shocks cause Lambert-Wild to writhe and grimace. Yikes.

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