October 3, 2012 1:47 pm
Magician David Blaine is taking pain to a new level for his newest stunt: standing atop a 20-foot high pillar for 72 hours while being subjected to a million volts of electricity. In order to achieve this feat, he will forego food and sleep and wear a chain-mail suit that will better conduct the electricity fed through an array of Tesla electrical coils.
As the New York Times describes, for the first time, the audience will be in charge of Blaine’s suffering. His free show, “Electrified,” will take place this Friday on a pier in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park, where audience members and international viewers in London, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney will take turns controlling which of seven electric coils are turned on and at what intensity. The entire performance will also be live-streamed on YouTube.
Blain’s past exploits include spending 63 hours inside a block of ice, laying for a week inside a coffin and going six weeks without food in a glass box suspended over the Thames River. Executives at Intel, which is sponsoring part of the event, dub this latest exploit as “experimental exposition” (and add that it’s a way for the pubic to learn about the principles of electromagnetism).
Blaine will have some protective gear, including the 72-pound chain-mail Faraday suit that conducts the electricity around his body instead of through it. After a recent test session, Blain told the Times, “It’s like having your whole body surrounded by static electricity, the kind that makes your hair stand up on end. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s strange. I have no idea what 72 hours of exposure to these electromagnetic forces will do to the electrons in my cells and the neurons in my brain.”
More from Smithsonian.com:
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.