Miao Jiaxin‘s Airbnb listing describes itself as “the best cage accommodation you could ever find in New York City.” The cage, located inside a sunny studio in Bushwick with “roof access,” will be available for reservations at no cost to participants, provided they follow a set of rules. The studio will be livestreamed 24/7, but will be open to the public from 9am to 9pm. From 9am to 12pm, the “guest” will be required to stay inside the cage without reading, writing, using electronic devices, exercising, talking or sleeping. The penalty for not complying with these rules is the loss of the participants $100 deposit, so anyone interested should make sure they can commit to three hours of doing completely nothing. The rest of the time, Jiaxin’s guests are free to come and go as they please. The minimum reservation is two days, or six hours of mandatory cage time. This is an art project.
Jiaxin, who is originally from China, began working as a photographer, following Shanghai street sex workers. Since immigrating to New York, he has focused on performance art. He had dressed as a Chinese businessman for a year while earning his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, livestreamed himself removing his clothes in a kiddie pool as people poured cans of Coca Cola over his body and had his mother drag him down a busy Shanghai street in a suitcase, among other things. His website says that his work draws from themes of “existentialism” and “urban angst”
Like many of Jiaxin’s works, this project, which is advertised on Airbnb as “Jail’s Seeking Prisoners,” is heavily influenced by classic performance art, but updated by incorporating modern technology. Most notably, the Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh famously locked himself in a cage very similar to Jiaxin’s for an entire year, following a list of rules that mirror Jiaxin’s for his “guests.” Airbnb has also been in vogue for New York artists. During the recent International Architecture Exhibition, several artists rented apartments on Airbnb across the city to display art in what they called the AIRBNB Pavillion.
If you’re interested in an extremely cheap place to stay and don’t mind a few hours of enforced quiet time, Jiaxin will be accepting reservations for the cage through August 1st.
UPDATE 6/26 3:05pm: The listing has been removed from Airbnb. We’ll keep you updated as the story progresses.