Do you think people would hurt you if you didn’t fight against it, even if they don’t know you? Performance artist Marina Abramovic was curious to know the answer to this question and staged a performance to find out.
This social experiment turned out to be one of the most successful performances of Abramovic in her whole career. It also solved some unsolved puzzles and answered the already mentioned question.
Marina Abramovic is most known for her video with Frank Uwe “Ulay” Laysiepen, her ex lover, in which the lovers reunite. Other than that, she has done many other artistic performances which have attracted the audience because of their uniqueness.
The so-called “grandmother of performance art” has been giving performances for more than four decades and still succeeds in amazing the public with every new piece.
One of the reasons her installations are so special is the fact that they are always relevant. Indeed, one of her first performances was so awe-inspiring that is still popular and being watched. It is an art show Abramovic performed at Studio Morra in Naples, Italy.
The performance named “Rhytm 0” was divided into two parts. In the first part, Abramovic stood still for 6 hours, letting everyone do whatever they wanted to her. She had placed 72 objects near her for the people to use.
The instructions were clearly written on a board next to Abramovic.
- There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired.
- I am the object.
- During this period I take full responsibility.
- Duration: 6 hours (8 pm – 2 am)”
At the beginning, nobody touched her. After the period of observing, some visitors started to make initiatives and picked up some of the objects on the table. There were people who humiliated her by making her sit down. Some people moved her around the room and made her hold objects. But there were people who were much more extreme.
How extreme can a person be at a performance, you ask? It’s so horrifying that even Abramovic would later admit that she felt frightened at the moment.
Some of the visitors wanted to see her humiliated.
Horrible. Actually, it got even worse at the end. Apart from the undressing, touching and cutting, there was also gun-pointing. A visitor put a gun in Abramovic’s hand and made her point it to herself. It should be mentioned that the gun was loaded.
The experience was horrifying and frightening for both visitors and the artist. Abramovic shared her feelings after the performance.
Then, the second part of the performance followed. During this part, Abramovic walked among the visitors. She experienced something amazing. The people who did her harm during the first part couldn’t stand to look her in the eyes.
After resisting to fight the harassment and violence, she wanted to confront the visitors, but not many people would confront her. Not the people who did the terrible things to her.
Someone went so far to place a loaded gun in her hand and point it towards her.
As Abramovic concludes, the results of the performance are powerful because they reveal a horrible truth about humanity. It shows that there are people who would hurt you if they can, but they don’t want to be judged afterwards.
There was sexual harassment and violence.