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Why Performance Art Is a Tool to Change Human Consciousness

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.

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