Millie Brown, a British Performance artist previously known for her superior regurgitating skills, is now making headlines for a new artistic endeavor – surviving on nothing but water for a week. We had covered Millie’s story in 2011, back in her regurgitating days, when she used to swallow gallons of colored milk and puke it all onto a canvas. At one point, she was widely popular as the girl who threw up all over Lady Gaga in a music video, but she’s apparently setting her sights on starvation as an art form these days.
Millie has placed herself on display, enclosed in the Hatbox, a gallery space at the Refinery Hotel in New York. She’s surrounded by a carpet of freshly-cut flowers, and she plans to remain completely removed from the outside world for 168 hours straight. During this time, the 27-year-old will sustain herself solely on water.
Millie joins the ranks of several performance artists across the world who’ve done weird things to themselves in the name of art. Like this guy who lived inside a bear carcass for 13 days, and these two artists who lived in a hamster wheel for 10 days. Millie’s challenge began on Friday, as a part of NYC’s Frieze Art Week. “I wanted to create a performance that embodied the transience of life,” she said.
“I wanted to eliminate all the distractions from my daily reality in order to focus on the impermanence and fragile beauty of our existence,” she added. I suppose the dozen cameras that are always on her don’t count as ‘distractions’. Not to mention the general public who are free to view Millie’s naked form from the sidewalk through a gallery window. The performance is also being live-streamed 24×7 via VMagazine.com.
In an interview with the magazine, Millie spoke about her inspiration behind the performance: “I always strive to push through my own physical and mental barriers. I think it’s important to experience everything you can, on every end of the spectrum. I believe it’s important to make yourself uncomfortable and learn to separate mind and body in order to reach a raw, primal state of being.”
Born in England to Bohemian parents, Millie spent much of her childhood in Spain and the South of France. Her growing-up years were tough; she couldn’t relate to the French children of her neighborhood. Instead, she turned into a rebel – befriending local street punks, sleeping in abandoned buildings and driving across Europe in trucks. She spent a summer in LA and returned to London at age 17, beginning her extraordinary journey in performance art and film.
In 2005, Millie started experimenting with her unique vomiting style. As a part of her ‘vomit art’ she swallows a selection of dyed soy milk at various intervals, before vomiting it all onto a white canvas. She insists that her retching habits haven’t affected her health in the least, because she maintains a healthy vegan lifestyle and doesn’t perform more than once a month.
Through her current performance, she plans to withstand physical discomfort to enter into an altered, meditative state. She wants to use this experience to ‘enable herself to explore the depths the mind can reach, once physical comforts and limitations have been removed.’