What makes the performing arts so thrilling is also what makes them so elusive—they are, by nature, ephemeral. Any documentation of a performance is only a pale reflection of what it's like to be there in the moment. So when performance artist Marina Abramovic began to contemplate what her own legacy would be, she thought beyond biographies, retrospectives, or monuments and instead began to develop a method of generating the kind of experiences she valued, one that would allow her kind of performances to continue long after the artist was no longer present. Starting in late 2014, "long duration" (six hours plus) performance pieces as well as facilities intended to initiate the public into performance art will be housed in the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI) in Hudson, New York. The institute will occupy an old 20,000 square-foot theater that was purchased by Abramovic in 2007 and whose interior is being redesigned by Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas of OMA. At Monday's press preview held at MoMA P.S. 1 in Queens, Shigematsu compared the concept for the institute to the experience of attending a baseball game (which, he noted, can be "long and sometimes very boring"), where the main spectacle unfolds below on the field but plenty of equally engaging activities happen at the same time in and around the grandstands. OMA will leave the theater's 1929 brick facade and colonnaded entry but create a new box inside that functions as a central performance space with 650 seats. Wrapping around it will be a fitness space, a library, and classrooms, along with rooms dedicated to meditation, levitation (powered by magnets), and crystals (which Abramovic believes are "like regenerators for people"). The key feature of OMA's design is that all these spaces are visually connected back to the center, creating a series of layers that blur the boundaries between audience and performer. In fact, every visitor to MAI will become a performer of sorts, signing on for a minimum visit of six hours that requires donning a white lab coat and participating in a series of instructive experiences on what Abramovic terms "hard-core performance art." The artist calls this "The Abramovic Method,"—"I feel like I've become a brand," she said—and through it she has made her evolution into an institution it's own kind of performance. Realizing that this level of engagement may require not only an open mind but also some endurance training, Abramovic and OMA have invented a kind of wheeled lounge chair in which visitors can rest, nap, and be rolled by staff to different levels of facility along a giant spiral ramp (a cafe is planned for the rooftop). Given the sanatorium-style atmosphere that is part Magic Mountain and part Eleusinian mysteries some guests may never want their performance to end. But to realize this vision for MAI, Abramovic must first raise at least $15 million and is now beginning a fundraising tour.
Posts tagged with "Performances and Performance Art":
What is a Super-Furniture? According to Chicago architect Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular, it is "a building that is kind of too small, or a couch that is kind of too big." Whichever way you prefer to think of it, Lai's plan to live in one of the his installation-scale Super-Furniture, in this case called the Hefner/Beuys House, for a month inside a London gallery is a provocative project where "suddenly architecture becomes performance art." Lai's small structures not only question our relationship to building by contorting, constricting and distorting spaces in interesting ways, but it also repositions architecture within the context of the public. Visitors will be able to see Lai living in his Hefner/Beuys House, an intimate look into one man's existence. By viewing the architect on display inside the comicbook-like building, architecture becomes narrative. Visitors to the gallery are also invited to enter the building and take part in the act. The Hefner/Beuys House needs your help, however, and a Kickstarter campaign is attempting to raise the funds necessary. As with most Kickstarter projects, Lai is offering some unique and collectible items in return for help, including highly inventive and visually striking original drawings, paintings, and T-shirts. You can even get your own Super-Furniture. This project is not the first architectural endeavor to be "Kickstarted." The Delancey Underground, a park proposed to be built underneath New York's Lower East Side, and +Pool, a floating pool planned for the East River, were both successful in raising funds through Kickstarter.
The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until--presto!--the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)
The stereotypes of New Yorkers are that they're rude, they only wear black, and they all have therapists. Sanitorium, the first installation of Guggenheim's new program, stillspotting nyc, explores the smorgasborg of therapies that help the city's neurotic residents keep their lives together. The installation is one of many that will take place over the next two years as a part of stillspotting nyc, which explores stillness and quiet in the hectic city. The program enlists architects, designers and composers to transform "still spots" into public tours, events and installations every three to five months. For the first installation, Artist Pedro Reyes transforms the storefront level of One MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn into a temporary clinic in early June. According to the Guggenheim:
In two-hour windows, Sanatorium visitors experience up to three sessions from over a dozen options through meetings with a series of “therapists.” Balancing reality and parody, Sanatorium draws from Gestalt psychology, theater warm-up exercises, Fluxus events, conflict resolution techniques, trust-building games, corporate coaching, psychodrama, and hypnosis.The sessions include Ex-Voto, in which visitors express thanks for a blessing, which an artist will then render into a small painting; Epitaphs, in which a therapist will facilitate the inscription of one’s tombstone; and Gong Pavilion, in which vibrations from nearby gongs are applied to acupuncture points. The venue, a 23-story skyscraper in Brooklyn and former home to Bear Stearns and Keyspan Energy, may strike some as an odd choice for the Guggenheim, but the program is part of a trend to move the museum's Architecture and Urban Studies programming into the city, as is increasingly apparent with BMW Guggenheim Labs and FutureFarmers, which included events at the Gowanus Canal, in the East Village and other offbeat locations.