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Artist straps herself to 20,000 helium balloons and lifts off the ground

We've pretty much all seen the film Up, right? The unbelievably sweet, but sad, story of an old man who ties thousands of balloons to his house in order to take off and follow the dreams of his late wife? It's a simply brilliant film, with an incredible story and plenty of tear-inducing moments.

It's also one of those films that makes you say: what if? What if I did that? What if I tied thousands of balloons to myself and just drifted off into the clouds? I mean, the reality of it is that I would probably die, but those minutes of just sailing around the sky would be absolute bliss.

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I guess the next question would be surrounding how many balloons it would require to even lift you off the ground, let alone your house. The answer, in short, is 20,000. That's the number of helium filled balloons required to lift an artist off of the ground during a colourful art installation that lasted nine hours, and was reminiscent of the aforementioned movie.

Noëmi Lakmaier was the artist in question, and she was held for nine hours by the colourful array of balloons inside the spectacular setting of Australia's Sydney Opera House.

The performance was part of the opera house's Antidote festival, and was title Cherophobia - the fear of happiness. Speaking to ABC news about the exhibition, Lakmaier said: "We’re all supposed to want to be happy, aren’t we?"

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"Being frightened of what we want seems to push and pull, and leave us in a constant Catch-22, which sounds so uncomfortable, but in so many ways resonates with the fight between my body and the balloons."

On Lakmaier's website, her work's themes include emphasising and exaggerating "the relationship between object, individual and space".

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Her statement reads:

"Through the use of everyday materials as well as her own body and the bodies of others, she constructs temporary living installations ― alternative physical realities ― exploring the psychological implications of power, control and insecurity, the drive to belong and succeed as well as feelings of self-doubt and otherness."

Lakmaier says that the concept for the project originated from her experience as someone who has a physical disability.

Speaking to the English website Culture 24 last year, Lakmaier, who uses a wheelchair, said: "I am quite scared of giving up control." The artist says that being suspended in the air and having to rely on balloons to hold her up, forces her to face her biggest fear.

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"In a sense, I’m not in control but really ultimately I am completely because I’m engineering the whole thing ― even if physically I’m not," she said.

It's not the first time the she was performed the installation, having also done it in London in 2016. However, during that performance, Lakmaier stayed afloat for 48 hours.

It's a pretty cool performance, even if it is just for the sake of aesthetics. But I guess the big question in all of this is: what does she do when she needs the toilet? Nine hours is a long time to go without using the bathroom, let alone 48!