One flew over the Mexican border... in the name of art

Click to follow

The feat was the idea of Javier Tellez, a Venezuelan artist, and is part of a series of public art projects in the border cities of Tijuana and San Diego.

Smith climbed into the barrel of the cannon on a beach in Tijuana on Saturday and flashed his US passport. About 600 people applauded as he soared about 150ft before landing uninjured in a net in Border Field State Park in San Diego. US border patrol agents and an ambulance were waiting near by.

David Smith Jnr, also a human cannonball, said his father's flight was the first across a border by way of cannon.

Tellez organised the cannonball launch with psychiatric patients at the Baja California Mental Health Centre in Mexicali, Mexico, as a therapeutic project. He called the project "living sculpture" and said it was about "dissolving borders" between the US and Mexico, and between mental health patients and the rest of the world. "David Smith is a metaphor for flying over human borders, flying over the law, flying over everything that is established," he said.

Tellez, 36, and Smith Snr worked closely on the backdrop, music, costumes and advertising for the project, called One Flew Over the Void. Tellez plans to make a documentary film about it.

Although it is against the law for anyone, including US citizens, to enter the country outside an official port of entry, Smith Snr was not crossing illegally as the local border patrol chief had given permission for the stunt..

Smith Snr, of Half Way, Missouri, is listed in Guinness World Records for a human fired from a cannon. He flew 185ft 10in on 29 May 1998 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.

The Smith family has five cannonballs: father, son, two daughters and a cousin. They travel around the world to perform at events. AP