Marina Abramović – The Artist Is Present: This emotional exhibit, held in the Museum of Modern Art for three months in early spring 2010, featured Abramović sitting in a chair for the entirety of the day at the museum. Visitors were encouraged to sit silently across from the artist for a duration of their choosing, becoming participants in the artwork. Abramović, acting as an “emotional mirror” to the patrons, silently stared at them, often inducing deeply profound and heartbreaking reactions.
I am really, really fascinated by this. When I tried to empathize just sitting in a chair across from someone and being present in that silence and face-to-face contact, the welling vulnerability brought a mist to my eye, too. Think about this— how often today, in the age of emails, text messages, and tumblr apps, do we spend a prolonged a focused period of time maintaining eye contact with anybody. Extra credit: see Ann Hamilton’s mouth-operated pinhole cameras, at 11:00-13:00 in the video. Hear what she says about face-to-face?
I really wish I could have experienced this performance art while it was on display. The results feel so moving!