“I set out to create a performance and exploration of the transience of life. The intention was to eliminate all the distractions from my daily reality in order to really focus on the impermanence and fragile beauty of our existence.
Hour zero was a manic rush to get everything in place for the performance to begin. After 2 hours sleep from the night before, having stayed up all night to create the bed of flowers and inserting each flower stem individually, which became a performance of duration in itself.
As I took my first steps on to the bed of flowers, the commitment I’d made suddenly became a lot more real. I was freezing cold, naked and couldn’t communicate other than the shaking of my body and chattering of my teeth.
Over the next several hours I started to fall into a deep meditative state, the discomfort I felt seemed to push me further in, experiencing violent and psychedelic visions and vivid hallucinations, all around the subject of death.
After this intense night I awoke feeling strangely serene and happy. Finally having the time to delve in to my own mind in tranquility. The more the days went on, the more I would have distant memories flooding back in such clarity as if they had finally been released through the solitude and focus.
Food became irrelevant, I didn’t want it once, nor did the smell of cigarettes, or the sight of passers by eating by my window affect me. I told myself I wasn’t human. Those elements of life didn’t apply to me.
I would hear the voices of people outside observing me. I seemed to hear the same comments over and over again by different people and became fascinated by all the similarities we hold as people, and what influences our opinions. “Is that a real person?” “Is that a girl or a boy?” “She needs to eat a burger!” “Only in New York!”
I heard many things that were so beautiful too. I would hear people coming back every day to see me and talk to me, leave me flowers outside the window. At times I felt as though I was a spirit at my own wake. One man would come every night between 2 – 5am to meditate with me on the other side of the window.
I would only sleep for a couple of hours a night between 5 – 7am or so, I’m guessing as I had no concept of time other than the rise and set of the sun, the trash being collected on the street and the let out of bars, leading to drunk walkers by who would pound on the window as if at a zoo. I felt safer during the day and would mainly sleep then.
My mind would be in and out of the room, travelling deep within myself to fall back in to reality when someone would scream or shout at me through the glass.
I came to love each flower, each personality they held. The idea that I wasn’t going through this alone, that they were my companions in this journey. By the end of the week my body felt weak but my mind never felt stronger. I felt this overwhelming feeling that everything we put our mind to is possible. Taking away what we think we need only makes us stronger.
I became so in love with life, I didn’t want to leave but I couldn’t wait to breathe fresh air, look at the sunshine, and feel it on my skin.
I was given a fifteen-minute count down at the end of the performance. The 168 hours had gone by so quickly in comparison to those last minutes. As I stood up slowly, my head rushing and took my first steps outside, I felt as though I’d just been born in to this world all over again, an overwhelming sensation of happiness and excitement to be alive, my feet stood firm in the present and looking with wonder towards the future.” – Millie Brown