Monday, November 28, 2011


Chim ↑ Pom, Making of the Sokushinbutsu, 2009
Chim ↑ Pom out-spooked everyone at ArtGig event which took place in the abandoned hospital on Halloween. The place itself with its empty CT rooms, crematorium, broken windows and rotten tatami mats could be a location of a horror movie however the top of the bill was the rooms where Chim ↑ Pom installed a mummy sculpture of Motomu Inaoka. The inspiration for this piece came from the sect of Japanese Buddhism called Shingon whose monks mummified themselves. The whole process was called sokushinbutsu and started in 17c. in the times of horrible famine in Japan when one of the Shingon monk decided the best way to end the famine would to mummify himself alive. The other monks follow and upon many experiments they came up with the method which they thought would be best process of mummification.

Here is the Shingon-approved self-mummification process in a few easy steps.

For three years, eat nothing but nuts and berries.
For the next three years, only eat bark and roots
Drink a special tea. By drinking tea made out of urushi tree, a substance which
is poisonous and usually used to lacquer bowls. The latter supposedly made
the body bacteria proof.
Bury yourself alive.
Seal yourself in a giant stone tomb. The monks gave the mummy-to-be a bamboo pipe for air and a bell to rang it every day so the fellow monks know that he was alive. When they didn’t hear the bell ring, they knew that the monk had died.

It is not clear however if Inaoka followed any of these process but it was recorded that by the end of the performance during which he fasted for several days being on the display of the exhibition he lost as much as 18kg. The group claims that the artist was fine after the end of the whole ordeal.