I assure you from a God’s Olympian perch that government is a shared myth. When the myth dies, the government dies.
Marina Abramović, “Rhythm 0,” 1974
Marina Abramović is best known for her performance pieces, in which she tries to explore what is possible for an artist to do in the name of art. Her best known piece was the recent “The Artist Is Present,” in which she sat motionless for 736.5 hours over the course of three months, inviting visitors to sit opposite her and make eye contact for as long as they wanted. So many people began spontaneously crying across from her that blogs and Facebook groups were set up for those people.
Her bravest piece, however, is my favorite. This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her. She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol, on a table near her and invited the viewers to use them on her however they wanted.
Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly. “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
This piece revealed something terrible about humanity, similar to what Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, both of which also proved how readily people will harm one another under unusual circumstances.
This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back, and is particularly powerful because it defies what we think we know about ourselves. I’m certain the no one reading this believes the people around him/her capable of doing such things to another human being, but this performance proves otherwise.
I sat with her for The Artist is Present in 2010. I silently held eye contact with this woman. On mushrooms. For over an hour.
"This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back"
I will love this forever!!!
Still my favorite post
Yea, I really appreciate all of the “affirming” posts in my inbox, fellas. Good thing there are amazing comics to be sarcastic for me.
I can’t tell you the number of times that the response to my body hair has been, “But don’t you want men to like you…?”
"New York-based photographer Howard Schatz has laid bare the wide spectrum of body types that can make an athlete"
Hey, hey there, remember when people said you need to be thin to be an athlete? Or you had to be tall? Remember when someone looked at you and said that because of your appearance, you weren’t healthy? Or active? Yeah, they’re full of shit. These people are powerful and incredible.
I love love love this campaign forever.
Quick, messy graphic to explain a concept that seems obvious to me:
We shouldn’t be helping women because they’re related to someone else. We shouldn’t be helping women because someone else cares about them. We should be helping women because they are people.
We should be helping women for their own sake.
Why is that a hard concept for people to grasp?