This video is one of the greatest performance art pieces of all time. It gives Marina Abramovic's Rhythm 0 a run for its money. It's best if you watch the video, but here's a play by play if you're at work or trying to hide out in a public restroom.
There's a lot of lead-up to the real meat of the video: the point at which the polished, professional news anchors dissolve into panic. But the slow crescendo only makes the payoff all the sweeter. I don't typically enjoy watching people suffer. I'm not into "torture porn" horror movies, and I don't like watching America's Funniest Home Videos montages of testicle abuse. It just makes me cringe. But the best part of this video isn't watching people in pain. It's watching professional, composed news anchors descend into Boschian madness.
The anchors banter a bit, talking about how their friend suggested the challenge, and fiddle dantily with the packaging. "I think we have a deep voice guy to explain this," one of them points out. A disembodied, deep, news-summary voice starts to speak, though it takes a minute for his mic to be properly turned up. "Subjects can expect short-term loss of speech, followed by extreme profanity, heavy breathing, enhanced sinus function, and impaired vision..."
At this point the anchors are laughing along, putting on mock faces of shock, interspersed with polite chortling. There is perhaps a twinge of anxiety on a couple of faces, but for the most part they're blissfully unaware of what 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units will actually feel on their tongue. They continually claim it's made out of "ghost pepper," but are woefully misinformed. Sure, the ghost pepper was ranked the world's hottest pepper in 2007, but this is 2017, and the Carolina Reaper is about 500,000 heat units hotter. They don't understand yet that this pepper will be their downfall. It will destroy them.
Before partaking of the chip, one anchor meekly observed, "But we were promised milk!" As his request is repeatedly ignored, he seems to grow slightly more anxious. Milk is an important safety measure, as it's the only liquid that can help soothe the effects of pepper. Without it, the anchors had no recourse once the pepper hit. It's like looking in retrospect at the many safety regulations the supervisors at Chernobyl ignored. The sense of doom is palpable. Then, in unison, like a suicide cult, they put the chips in their mouths.
At first, nothing. You can see them look momentarily triumphant, before the pain begins. Their expressions quickly change to panic.
"I've... got the hiccups. I get the hiccups when I eat something hot," one of the anchors murmurs, trying to keep his composure while screaming with his eyes. The anchors to the left of him are faring worse. "Hey, Natalie's losing her breath- OH OH Natalie threw up!" one of the anchors astutely points out. There's some laughter, as you can her her retching under the table. Her neighbor, with a look of confused panic, starts to walk around in a circle, and tries to wander off the set. An assistant corrals him back into frame. Another PA tosses little bottles of chocolate milk at them, which are of no use to Natalie who is still huddled under the table. Society has broken down. The news anchors, whose entire personalities are cultivated to perfection, have had the veil lifted, revealing teary eyes, vomiting, and milk-chugging. I'm no art expert, but I'm pretty sure this is art.
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