"Box Guy" Daniel Nilsson and stranger get boxed in for art
Perhaps it was their shared propensity for posting weird ads on Craigslist that was fated to bring them, like so many missed connections, together. Or maybe they're just two weird dudes. Whatever it is, there's something approaching ironic about the fact that Daniel Nilsson -- who had been looking via the Craigslist housing section for a complete stranger with which to spend an otherwise totally isolated in a box with no food -- found his stranger not through a reply to his own ad, but by replying to another. "Basically I put up a weird Craigslist ad looking for film work: 'Artist Seeks Coming of Age Ritual' or something like that," explains Trevor Jahner, who is and will continue to be the stranger in Nilsson's box for the next five or so days. "Daniel contacted me, like, 'I've got something you might be interested in.'"
Because Nilsson was looking for a stranger, of course, the vetting process was a couple of places removed from Nilsson himself. "Yeah, so basically the response I got from Daniel was this really brief e-mail kind of telling me what he was thinking about doing, and then he said if I was interested to contact his mother," Jahner recalls. Jahner did, and Nilsson's mother liked him.
Daniel and Trevor meet for the first time.
And so it came to be that the opening of what is technically an art exhibit titled Isolation Box # 2 at Edge Gallery on Friday was actually the first time Nilsson and Jahner -- who, I really think this bears repeating, will be spending seven entire days closed up in a box together (if they can both hold out) -- had ever spoken or met. About 45 minutes after that first meeting, they climbed in and closed the lid.
As Nilsson explained his urge to live (and, it's also worth noting, defecate) in a tiny box -- a 4' x 4' x 8' structure more or less barren on the inside and covered with mirror panels on the outside -- with no sustenance, "There's something ... about, like, just the potential humanness of some kind of...gestation. There's this symbolism of the womb or something, challenging yourself to grow and survive and stick out these hardships."
Peering into the reflected void.
Jahner's reasons for getting in the box sound somewhat similar.