20,000 BALLOONS KEEP ARTIST IN AIR FOR “FEAR OF HAPPINESS”
Australia’s Sydney Opera House has seen so many performances that defy description. But the artist Noëmi Lakmaier offered a performance that no one has seen before. Lakmeier performed in an art installment called, Fear of Happiness. But the exhibit is unique as Lakmaier floated in the air for 9 hours. What held her in the air? 20,000 balloons kept the artist aloft as an art exhibit.
ARTIST’S DISABILITY DRIVES HER ARTISTIC EXPRESSION
Lakmaier’s website offered some explanations of her artwork’s goals. The exhibit’s aim was to emphasize as well as exaggerate the relationship between object, individual and space. But Lakmaier’s own personal background informed her artistic expression. As someone with a physical disability, her own experiences fed the drive to expression.
ARTIST ALOFT A CHALLENGE TO CONTROL, FEAR
“I am quite scared of giving up control,” Lakmaier, who uses a wheelchair, said in an interview last year. The fear of happiness, or Cherophobia, was one feature of the opera house’s Antidote festival, a festival of ideas, art & action. “We’re all supposed to want to be happy, aren’t we?” Lakmaier asked media. “Being frightened of what we want seems to push and pull, and leave us in a constant Catch-22. Which sounds so uncomfortable, but in so many ways resonates with the fight between my body and the balloons.”
EXHIBIT A DISPLAY OF FACING FEAR, FACING HAPPINESS
Lakmaier’s 9 hours of floating in the air forced her to face that fear. Relying on such common objects for so long would be a challenge for anyone. But it’s all about control and context. “In a sense, I’m not in control.” 20,000 balloons is a lot to rely on, but still nerve wracking. What if something were to go wrong?
Lakmaier is no stranger to floating in the scene. Her last performance of this exhibit in 2016 in London had artist aloft for 48 hours. Her website offers more details of her international exhibits.