Rhythm 0, 1974, Marina Abramovic
To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were scissors, a knife, a whip, and, most notoriously, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.
Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) several people began to act quite aggressively. As Abramović described it later:
“The experience I learned was that…if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed.” … “I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
So many works that I am familiar with but never connected to Abramovic until today.
1. it’s absolutely horrific that people acted in this way. being passive or immobile doesn’t mean she becomes an object, it means she is allowing the audience to interact through her, rather than with her. once again, fuck people.
2. ALSO WHAT THE FUCK PERFORMANCE STUDIES
SHE CAME TO MY SCHOOL LAST NIGHT AND SHE BASICALLY JUST SHOWED TONS OF CLIPS OF OTHER PERFORMANCE ARTISTS AND LET ME SAY I NOW LOVE PERFORMANCE ART. ALSO, SHE’S ACTUALLY PRETTY FUNNY.