Blaine gets boxed in

Sky One, C4 team for magician's Thames experience

A correction was made to this article on Aug. 19, 2003.

LONDON — Sky One and Channel 4 have signed up for magician David Blaine’s latest happening: six weeks residence in a Plexiglas box suspended over the River Thames. With London’s Tower Bridge in the background, “David Blaine: Above the Below” will show for 44 days starting Sept. 5, with the two U.K. broadcasters covering the event’s start as he enters the box, which will then be dangled over the Thames by a crane. Sky One will stream the complete 44-day experience on one of its Sky Active digital interactive channels, as well as regular broadcast transmissions. Sky’s cameras will capture the entire event, which is a Sky/C4 co-production. Filmmaker Harmony Korine will direct the program and create a narrative stream of the event, slated to finish — baring catastrophes — on Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. GMT.

This is the first time that Blaine has ever attempted a major stunt outside of the U.S. The stunt follows in the tradition of Blaine’s hybrid of physical endurance and performance art, as witnessed in last year’s “Vertigo” stunt in which he stood on top of a 100-foot-high pole in New York for 35 hours, and “Frozen in Time,” in which he encased himself in six tons of ice for three days.

Blaine said everyone is stronger and more resourceful than we imagine: “This performance will demonstrate these ideas through the most extreme exercise in isolation and physical deprivation ever attempted. There will be no trickery and no means of escape.”

Sara Ramsden, Sky One controller, said: “This is a fantastic coup for Sky One, London and the U.K. The eyes of the world will be trained on London as he attempts this extraordinary feat.” Blaine added: “I will have no food, no sex, no phones, no books, no music, no television, no privacy and no other stimulus. It will be a public isolation that I will have to endure by adapting and surviving as an animal on instinct.”