Any of you ever heard of Marina Abramović ?
Frankly speaking, her name never crossed me until recently I found out about the collaboration that happened between her and Gaga. I then headed to Wikipedia to look into her. I was intrigued to check on her art performance on YouTube. I watched some of her performances and found myself aghast. I was a total noob for this kind of art performance. Up to this point, I considered her actions as pointless and very odd (I watched the videos where she bumped herself into the wall, pressing herself to a big mirror, some people masturbating and a very disturbing animation video of woman inserting fish into her vagina). Then came another big collaboration of her with a rapper, Jay Z. That got my attention so this time I decided to put aside my initial thought on her and tried to understand what someone like Marina’s actually doing.
I watched this documentary about her performance in MOMA. I was very skeptical when I first tuned in to this documentary. Some cuts were pretty graphic and inconceivable. I did not get what her “performance” had to do with art. But then, I got to see a glimpse of her early years with her companion and a tiny part of her childhood. I saw a link and reasoning there.
But what really gets into me from this HBO’s documentary is her art performance in MOMA, called The Artist is Present. It is the exact title that’s used as a title for this documentary. Those of you who reside in US might have heard of it since it’s pretty controversial back then. People getting naked in museum being treated as art and Marina herself was the main attraction of the crowd. People were lining up nights before only to be able to sit in front her and stare into her eyes. At first, I did not get the whole point of this, at all. I thought it was pretty odd, sitting in an big plain room with many people watching. Then I got to see that many visitors sat down and felt the kind of affection from Marina’s eyes. She was present. She sat there and simply being present towards her visitor. She smiled, she cried, she looked deep into the person sitting in front of her.
An interesting comment came from one of MOMA’s people (I think so, CMIIW). He said Marina always gave the impression that she’s in love with the person she’s interacting with. It’s her full presence that made it so.
No wonder many had the tenacity to wait long hours only to be able to sit in front of Marina. Even from a screen, I could feel how warm and fully present she was towards the visitors. She looked deep into each pair of eyes, felt every emotion, letting out smiles and even tears along with the visitors. And I agreed with a commentator mentioning how Marina made the person she’s interacting with, felt as if becoming Marina’s lover because of the full attention she’s giving out.
But it is sad to see that in the society, we as human beings are losing our grip on our life.
With these days’ technology, everyone is always seemed to be attached to some gadgets. Be it the increasingly omnipresent smartphone or tablets or computer or television or anything else. You can always find a group of friends or family hanging out and some seem real busy with their gadgets while ignoring the other bunch who are interacting.
And not only that, as a human being, we are accustomed to deal with everything in a brisk manner. We constantly forget to be there during the whole process. What we want is always the final result. This whole thing is slowly making ourselves become a robot.
With Marina’s art performance, I learned that we can get ourselves back to the right track. Back to the way it’s supposed to be. How? By being present whenever and wherever we are. It is to make us appreciate more and be more responsive to what is happening at the present time instead of just chasing the wind with no clear direction.
Be present and make a difference. Be present and spend more quality time with our loved ones.
That’s why I keep “. . . is Present” as a title of this post. Fill in your name in the blank space and utter it to yourself, “. . . is present”.
Ready to see yourself evolving to become a better you 🙂