Chris Burden is one of those American artists, who stands apart from his colleagues in terms of shocking the viewers. He brilliantly manages to reach them on a psychological level, drawing a set of emotions. For example, in his performance “I’m Not About Death”, dressed only in shorts, he chained himself to the concrete floor with copper handcuffs. Around it was buckets of water with 110-volt electric wires lowered into them. In this way, he spent three days while the slightest carelessness of any of the spectators could kill him once and for all. It is difficult to indicate from first sight, what exactly Burden wanted to say by putting himself at risk of death from electric shock. In addition, this performance can seem aggressive and disturbing for some people.
While his work is not particularly hostile towards viewers, it becomes evident that Burden tries to convey a message that is difficult to swallow. By putting himself in these dangerous circumstances, he demonstrates that society is able to overcome its urge to follow the urge for destruction. In other words, Burden transfers his desire to construct the mechanics of his own destruction, or his will to die, onto society for which these aspirations are more imaginary than real. He makes viewers realize the weight of their decisions and how life-threatening they can be. This artwork can certainly raise a number of discussions even in this day and age. Due to a large amount of information about violence on the Internet people of the 21st century have less empathy for the pain of others. Therefore, this performance may shock them and bring more awareness about the significance of their actions, or a lack thereof can impact a human’s life.