What does an extreme fear of happiness look like? If you just pictured 20,000 party balloons lifting a human from the ground, you might be on the money.

Performed over nine hours on Sunday at the Sydney Opera House, artist Noëmi Lakmaier’s piece Cherophobia saw the artist tied to a frame and lifted from the stage using 20,000 multi-coloured helium balloons — Pixar’s Up-style. 

Open free to the public inside the iconic venue’s Concert Hall, the live installation formed the cornerstone of brand new Sydney talks, ideas, and politics festival Antidote, featuring speakers like staff members of The Onion, The Women’s March on Washington co-chair Tamika D. Mallory and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race author Reni Eddo-Lodge.

The artist was suspended in the air for nine hours in a concert hall.

The artist was suspended in the air for nine hours in a concert hall.

Cherophobia takes its title from a psychiatric condition basically known as an extreme fear of happiness. Lakmaier’s own experience with disability inspired the work, which plays with ideas of detachment on a rather colossal, jaw-dropping scale. As main stage as meditation gets, the work explores ideas of restraint, patience, and anticipation.

Cherophobia saw a somewhat lengthier performance in St Leonards Church in Shoreditch, London in 2016, where the artist rose for a casual 48 hours.

See more images of the piece below:



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