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As part of an art installation by Portuguese artist João Onofre, the UK death metal band Unfathomable Ruination will be playing in an airtight, soundproofed box until they run out of oxygen. 

Box Sized DIE featuring Unfathomable Ruination by João Onofreis part of the Sculpture In The City programme by City of London, which aims to ”enhance our urban environment with cutting edge contemporary works” from leading artists in and around the Square Mile. 

Basically, the program exists to “liven up” London’s banking district - to try and convince people that EC3 isn’t just full of suit wankers, but people that appreciate art. Consequently, the art on offer is normally pretty inoffensive and boring. However, this year, we’ve got this:

This is the first time that João Onofre’s work, Box sized DIE featuring Unfathomable Ruination, 2007 – 2014 has come to London, having toured extensively through Europe at venues including Palais de Tokyo and MACBA. Influenced by Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962), the steel box serves as a mobile location for performance. In each location the sculpture travels to, Onofre invites a local Death Metal band to play, on this occasion Unfathomable Ruination. The box is soundproofed, determining and restricting the performance’s duration to the length of time in which the oxygen is expended. Outside the cube, viewers observe its strange vibrations, only viewing the band’s entrance and exit to the performance space.

According to João Onofre, the shape of the box mimics the exact size of Tony Smith’s 1968 minimalist work Die, with one difference: a door that opens up into an isolated sound chamber. The band will play inside, with the door closed (you won’t be able to hear anything), and when the air runs out they will open the door. Hmmm, maybe just listen to them at home on YouTube where no one’s life is in danger?

The band will be performing outside the Gherkin: 3 July at 6 & 7pm, 4 July-1 August 2014 at 6pm Wed-Fri, where many insurance brokers and members of the public will be looking on in confusion. 

Here’s what you won’t hear:

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