The best thing about this New York Times article on David Blaine's latest stunt is not the news that he's inviting the public to electrocute him over and over for a period of 72 hours, but how much effort everyone is going to to make it sound like this is something bold and daring.
In the past, David Blaine has done some pretty crazy things. He was frozen inside a block of ice for 63 hours. He lived in a see-through coffin for a week. He even found a card that he hadn't seen. Now, though, this practitioner of the agent art of Street Magic has decided to kick back and basically let people be entertained by a strobe light for three days.
Blaine's latest endeavor, "Electrified," allows the public to shoot volts of electricity at him by manipulating laptops that control seven Tesla coils. Viewers will be able to determine which of the seven coils are turned on at any given time, and at what intensity they dispense their volts. (All seven simultaneously; max voltage 24/7. Is this even a question?)
However, rather than passing through Blaine's body, thereby turning him into bacon and helping to ease the global pork shortage, the electricity will merely pass around Blaine's body, conducted by his chain-mail body suit/nerd tuxedo.
The other razzle dazzle aspects of the trick seem to have been incorporated as afterthoughts:
- Blaine will stay awake for 72 hours straight, a feat regularly achieved by everyone's exaggerating friends during finals.
- The 7 coils will play different music notes so, hopefully, by Day 2, people will have figured out how to manipulate them into a rough approximation of Call Me Maybe.
- He'll be standing atop a 20 foot pillar.
But will Blaine be hurt by having bolts of electricity shot right at him? No. Though he will totally feel kind of weird.
"It doesn't hurt, but it's strange."
Indeed, Blaine won't even have to inhale the ozone and nitrogen dioxide created when electricity ionizes air; a special team will ensure all that is ventilated out, and also monitor his mental state.
Despite this tepid danger, Blaine and the event organizers are eager to point out that anything could happen:
"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."
No one has ever faced such an array of Tesla coils for so long, said Paul Hoffman, the president of the Liberty Science Center, where Mr. Blaine has the title of magician in residence.
So, basically, David Blaine is going to wear a suit and be awake for a long time and afterwards he's going to smell like before a thunderstorm.
The Times article features a video of him practicing.
UPDATE: Animal New York has a video interview with Blaine that also offers a sneak peek at the, um, contraption.
(New York Times // Image via Getty)