Letting Others Decide Your Fate
RHYTHM 0 – 1974 : m a r i n a . a b r a m o v i ć | 1946 . performance artist . belgrade . serbia
This is the account about Marina Abramovic regarding her performance of Life Art piece where she stood naked from the waist up in silence and without moving for six hours. This is what happens when letting others decide your fate.
“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 dehumanise 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.
This is why performance art is important.
So every single person who told me “Ignore them, they’ll go away” and “You can’t let them know they bothered you” and “They’ll stop if they don’t see you react” and all that bullshit, my entire school career, I want you to look good and hard at this. I want you to think about what you said. What you keep saying. What you are telling your children. You are making them powerless.”
I agree totally with the above quote from Marina. I experienced the exact same thing myself. This article is incredibly accurate and needs to be read by everyone.
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