Marina Abramovic is creating an institute for long durational performance.
I have been a performance artist for 40 years of my life. I have done many works that stretch the limitations of the mind and body. One example is Rhythm 0 (1974), where for six hours, I allowed the public to use me as an object. In my most recent work, The Artist Is Present (2010), at MoMA in New York, I sat for 736 hours across from anyone who wanted to sit with me. Over the course of three months, I stared into the eyes of more than 1,500 visitors. It was during this 736-hour performance that I realized the public’s immense desire to slow down and connect to themselves and to one another in a live setting. "Long durational" works like these facilitate this type of connection, but currently there is no space solely dedicated to them.
In my four decade-long career as a performance artist, I have learned so many things. First, I learned to never give up. Sometimes, from the moment that you conceive of an idea to the moment that it is realized, it takes years. So, patience and determination are essential. I also learned to follow my intuition about an idea even if I don't understand it at first. Finally, I learned that long durational performance has the largest capacity to transform both performer and audience. Performance doesn't exist without an audience. Audience and performer together complete the work.
Performance is immaterial and based on direct collective, and individual experience, and has the capacity to not only bridge science, spirituality, and technology practices, but also to change human consciousness in the process. Today, with all of the distractions we have in the world, our attention spans are limited. There is very little time to focus on one thing, let alone the things that are important. Long durational performance is a medium that invites sustained focus on one thing at a time, which is why MAI will focus on this kind of work.
Through Kickstarter, people have the opportunity to support the project in whatever way they can in its early days. Because the institute is being built for people, it is so important to create a community. We are taking the temperature of the public to see if people want and need such a place. Kickstarter is the perfect platform for this because it collapses the distance between audience and artist. If a large community supports the ideas and concepts that MAI is offering, it means that people connect to the project, and that they need this kind of place, and want to partake in its creation.
This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.