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David Blaine: Human fishbowl

Performance artist David Blaine lived underwater in an acrylic sphere for a week and then attempted and failed to break the underwater breath-holding record.
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1 of 4 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Blaine rescued

Performance artist David Blaine struggles to take a breath after failing to break the world record for underwater breath-holding on Monday night.

After seven minutes and 8 seconds underwater, he blacked out and his trainer sent two divers into the tank to free him from shackles attached to his ankles, according to Reuters. The breath-holding record is 8 minutes, 58 seconds.

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2 of 4 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Blaine with kid

David Blaine interacts with spectators of all ages on day three of his week living underwater in an eight-foot acrylic sphere in New York City's Lincoln Center.

Blaine, 33, culminated his stunt at 8 p.m. Monday by attempting, but failing, to break the world record for breath-holding underwater without a breathing apparatus, which is currently 8 minutes, 58 seconds. In what Blaine described from the tank (in audio posted on his blog) as "the most death-defying challenge of my entire life," he also escaped from 150 pounds of chains during the breath-holding finale.
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3 of 4 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Blaine with crowd

Those watching Blaine in his human snow globe on Wednesday afternoon seemed amazed by his living environment and asked questions like "Why is he doing this?" and "How is he going to use the bathroom?" To answer the latter, Blaine was equipped with tubes both for feeding and relieving himself. Although, according to his Web site, Blaine fasted for five days before going into the tank which "cleansed his body so he would have no solid waste while in the tank."

Blaine had a diving helmet on that allowed two-way communication with his support team.

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4 of 4 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Blaine alone

The water in Blaine's tank was kept at a balanced temperature to help keep his core temperature near 98.6 degrees. Still, he did the stunt against medical advice and was reportedly having trouble sleeping, was getting perforations in his skin and had a constant feeling of "pins and needles."

Blaine said he chose Lincoln Center for his stunt because it's the location of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where he spent time as a kid learning about escapologist Harry Houdini and other performers. "It was there that I first dreamed I might stage performance events that would be free to the public and that would challenge our mutual conceptions of what was humanly possible," he said.

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