Death metal band to play in air-tight box until they run out of oxygen

    I once stood inside a brightly-lit room and stared at a big bale of hay for 25 minutes. It was all in the name of art.

    It was an exhibit at New York’s MoMA, and, while I still remember that bizarre installation like it was yesterday, I can’t for the life of me recall its name (probably “Untitled 0.0001”). For that matter, its actual meaning is still a giant mystery to me. (Maybe exploring man’s growing social isolation despite a sea of technological advancement?) I got it, but I didn’t really get it, ya know?

    Turns out a British death metal band is trying their hand at something that’s similarly puzzling, but surely loaded with “purpose.” Unfathomable Ruination are set to play in an air-tight, soundproof box until they ultimately run out of oxygen. Seriously.


    Part of an project entitled “Box Sized Die” from Portuguese artist João Onofre, the installation will take place outside London’s The Gherkin at 6:00pm local time every Wednesday-Friday from July 3rd until August 1st. It will supposedly be completely inaudible to anyone passing by and the band will only be seen at the beginning and end of each staging.

    A full description of the exhibit reads:

    This is the first time that João Onofre’s work, Box sized DIE featuring Unfathomable Ruination, 2007 – 2014 has come to London, having toured extensively through Europe at venues including Palais de Tokyo and MACBA. Influenced by Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962), the steel box serves as a mobile location for performance. In each location the sculpture travels to, Onofre invites a local Death Metal band to play, on this occasion Unfathomable Ruination. The box is soundproofed, determining and restricting the performance’s duration to the length of time in which the oxygen is expended. Outside the cube, viewers observe its strange vibrations, only viewing the band’s entrance and exit to the performance space.

    Despite the inherent danger of such an endeavor, the band sound almost unbelievably resolute. On their Facebook account, they write, “According to the medical professionals who read the Independent, we’re all going to die… Challenge Accepted.”


    I may not have understood that bale of hay, but I’d probably stop to check out this breathtaking (ha!) showdown of man vs. nature. In all honesty, though, I do hope they stay safe.

    Here’s the band performing outside the confines of a giant box: