The chill of south London in February might seem relatively tropical when a new exhibition, Extremes, invites visitors to test their tolerance
Having struggled painfully to write with a pen during a 40-minute incubation inside London’s sub-zero ice bar, Paolo Viscardi, the Deputy Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman Museum, is hoping his ordeal will encourage others to try one of five uncomfortable conditions – heat, cold, aridity, permanent darkness and lack of oxygen – when a new exhibition, Extremes, opens next month.
Viscardi has also filmed in a low oxygen space, and will be attempting yoga in a shirt and tie next week. His exploits are being released on the museum’s YouTube channel, and fans can follow his bravery in real time on Twitter.
The exhibition itself will feature taxidermy versions of a polar bear, camel, ostrich, scimitar oryx and pipistrelle bat, explaining how each specimen fares better than humans in hostile environments. Viewers will then be able to have their resilience tested by hot sand and an handprint-ready ice wall.
“The world holds some really challenging environments,” says Viscardi.
“Life has some incredible ways of adapting to them.
“Extremes gives visitors a rare opportunity to look, listen, feel and discover just how some amazing plants and animals survive and even thrive in extreme conditions.”
This exhibition will be curated in English, Spanish and French.
- Opens February 15 2014. Visit www.horniman.ac.uk/extremes to book. Follow the hashtag #ExtremeCurator to follow Viscardi's journey, and follow the museum on Twitter @HornimanMuseum.
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