The famous performance artist includes participants in her recent Sydney Project
In the course of her 40-year career as a performance artist, Marina Abramovic has been providing audiences with experiences that originated outside their bodies—movements and sounds and ideas that poured forth from her and washed over them.
Those works have been transformative, and recognized as such. She was awarded Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale and ranked as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2014.
More recently, her work has evolved to include the audience as participant. A newer work staged in London, called 512 Hours, asked the public to become the performers while Abramovic blended into the background.
This year Abramovic took public participation to a newer, deeper level in Sydney, Australia, where she staged Marina Abramovic: In Residence, a 12-day installation on a public pier, as Project 30 of the Kaldor Public Art Projects. The project asked audience members and other artists to participate in different types of meditative and ritual practices as a way to better know themselves and their internal landscapes.
“My function in this new kind of performance situation is to show you, through the Abramovic Method, what you can do for yourself,” writes the Serbian native, who now resides in New York City. “I wanted to make this big change because I understood that actually you can’t get any experience by me doing it for you… So I’m completely shifting the paradigm, changing the rules.”
Project 30 involved several different participatory exchanges. For each one, participants were stripped of their phones, watches, and cameras and asked to wear noise-cancelling headphones.