Frenchman to live inside a bear for two weeks

Frenchman to live inside a bear for two weeks
A French performance artist is going to live in a bear for two weeks. But why? Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
As part of a performance art piece, a Frenchman will eat, sleep and live for the next two weeks inside a stuffed bear at a Paris museum. He’ll even take on a bear’s diet of nuts, berries and insects. Why you ask, is he doing this?

Abraham Poincheval, 43, climbed into the belly of the stuffed beast on Tuesday at Paris’s Museum of Hunting and Wildlife (Musée de la Chasse and la Nature) and said he won’t emerge until April 13th.

The performance piece titled ‘In the Skin of the Bear’ (Dans la Peau de l’Ours) will see him living full-time, completely self-sustaining inside the creature he's had fitted out with a bed, water source and web cam for the project.

And why has he moved into a bear for two weeks? According to a statement from the artist, he felt the need to “become one with such an animal” after encountering animal carcasses during a previous project in the French Alps.

“For him this act signifies a rebirth, a rite of passage, to pass from the world of the dead to that of the living,” the statement says.  

Living will be a little more complicated for the next two weeks. Poincheval will be dining on dehydrated meals that mimic a bear's diet of seeds, mushrooms, insects, or fish and which are sealed in plastic pouches stored in his host’s legs.

Because Poincheval won’t be standing up during his stay, he plans to do two hours of exercise daily in the creature, French daily Le Monde reported. Part of his plan is a system of elastic cords that will allow him to keep his body active.

He also has 30 litres of water at his access and a drain by which he can relieve himself.  Inside his bear, Poincheval has installed an electric kettle he’ll use to heat up his food.

If all this sounds a little extreme, it's not for Poincheval who has already carried out similarly unpleasant-sounding performances, like one that saw him walk in a straight line (Ligne Droit) across France in 2002. In 2012 he was entombed in a hole beneath a Marseille bookstore for a week.

For people interested in seeing how he’s doing, there is a webcam that netcasts his experiences live. For those who’d like a closer look, you can visit Poincheval’s performance during regular museum hours.

And If you’d really like to keep the artist company during his ordeal, there is a chair and a stack of books, including "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", that visitors can read to him.

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