Inside the room, decorated with small placards of female Disney characters, a sad-looking plant, Coke machines, and a jukebox, two paramedics stood by a gurney behind the crowd of thirty or so spectators (many of them journalists). [Artist Steve] Powers introduced himself and the event by saying that he didn’t intend the Thrill Ride to be political art, but “more like life drawing,” a representational act that “couldn’t be pushed to the right or the left.” He praised Coney Island, where he has lived and worked for years, as a “good place to confront horror.”... Powers then introduced the professional interrogator, Mike Ritz, clad in black fatigues and combat boots...Oh, come on! If you want to people to be upset about waterboarding, don't demonstrate it on lawyers.
The participants left the room for a minute, then burst through the door; Powers, now hooded, was roughly guided to the inclined waterboarding table... After about eight seconds, Powers began to twitch and jerk on the table, and Ritz quickly removed the rag. Dazed and flushed, the artist was led out of the room. Without fanfare or dawdling, though with some mutual mask adjustment, the interrogators repeated the procedure on three lawyers....
.... who had volunteered for the experience....Really now?
So... this is art because.... ?
Make sure your explanation distinguishes the recent Christopher Hitchens waterboarding, which couldn't be art, because if it was, the copycat art project shouldn't get a write-up in Artforum.
This is art because... it was done by an artist.
You can always use that one.