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Artists In Brooklyn Put New Spin On The Hamster Wheel

2 Men Living Inside Installation For 10 Days

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two artists are living like rodents for 10 days in Brooklyn.

As part of an installation art piece, Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder are spending that time on a giant hamster-like wheel in Williamsburg, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

Shelley, who is living atop the 25-foot-tall wheel, looked remarkably relaxed Wednesday for a guy subject to sudden movements from his creative colleague staying inside the wheel down below.

“If it moves where he is, he might stumble a little,” Shelley explained. “If it moves where I am, I’m going to fall off the side.”

The installation, being showcased at the Boiler Gallery, is called “In Orbit” — the point being that Schweder and his partner have to stay aligned like planets in order to survive, Schweder said.

“Every time we need to move, the other guy needs to move,” he said.

While the two artists may be living like hamsters, no rodent wheel has ever been equipped quite like theirs. The wheel includes beds, dressers, a table and chairs, a bathroom with running water, and a kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and hot plate.

“Unbelievable,” said Sheba Mandel, of Brooklyn. “They’re moving very slowly. I think the rats move faster.”

It took the artists a full month and several months to build the wheel. They lock the wheel down at night so they can sleep.

Art for the sake of art can be whimsical or even nonsensical. But visitors have told the artists they think there might be a practical application for what they’re doing.

“They’ve commented that this would be ideal for a struggling marriage where two people would need to really work together to live,” Schweder said.

“You must cooperate to get things done in an environment like that,” said Robert Leinwand, of Brooklyn.

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