Australian artist buried under busy road for 72 hours

By Nicholas Ford

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian performance artist has been buried in a steel container under a busy road where he will spend 72 hours as part of a so-called dark arts festival act held on the island state of Tasmania.

Artist Mike Parr entered the mini-shipping container late on Thursday and the road was resealed above him. The 73-year-old has plenty of water, reading and writing material, a heater and a distress button in case anything goes wrong - but no food.

Oxygen will be pumped into the container.

The festival's curator, Jarrod Rawlins, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the artist would limit the amount of liquids he'd consume. And he has a bucket.

The burial act is one of the main performances of the Dark Mofo Festival and is designed to highlight violence perpetrated by colonialists against Aboriginal communities, the festival said on its website.

Dark arts festivals showcase artwork and performances that often celebrate ancient rituals.

The festival has attracted controversy for placing inverted red crosses across Hobart, Tasmania's capital, prompting some Christian groups to denounce the installations as satanic.

Hobart's mayor, Ron Christie, said he supported the burial act even though he voted against it.

"I actually voted against this at council, I was one of two of us that voted against it, because of the traffic concerns," he told Reuters.

"Dark Mofo always gets a mixed reaction, when you arrive at Hobart airport, there’s a large neon sign that says welcome into my web, that says it all."

(Reporting by Nicholas Ford in SYDNEY; Editing by Jonathan Barrett, Robert Birsel)

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