I guess for tonight, I’ll play up the Abramovic love. =) EXCEPT. This is something very different from the other pieces I’ve posted by her.
Marina Abramovic, The Lovers - The Great Wall Walk, 1988
This is an excerpt from the book Whack!: Art and the Feminist Revolution:
“After [Rhythm 0], Abramovic’s attitude toward her work changed and she became less interested in her own passivity and more interested in using spectatorial energy to create bodily change. In her collaborative works with Ulay, her professional and personal partner for thirteen years, Abramovic explored the dynamics of heterosexual coupling, the nature of love and desire, ad the edge of trust and morality.
In 1988, they marked the ending of their personal and professional collaborations by beginning at opposite ends of the Great Wall of China and walking for three months in order to meet as the center to embrace and say good-bye. The piece exposed the labor involved in generating a touch capable of loosening a once-loving embrace. “
The audio of the piece in Abramovic’s own words is really interesting: http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/1986
In this piece, Abramovic once again explores the dynamics of pain, violence and self-destruction. In the first performance of this piece in 1973, she recorded the “rhythmic melody” of the sounds made as she plunged a knife rapidly between the fingers of her outstretched hand, changing knives each time she stabbed her hand- rather than the surface on which her hand rested- until she had used many knives.
Playing the tape back, she repeated the performance using the recording as a “score” to duplicate the same actions and injuries as the same moments. At once a feat of extraordinary concentration and a scene of repetitous self-mutilation, Rhythm 10 amplifies the way in which women sometimes engage in self-sabotage.
From foot-binding to obsessive dieting, diverse cultural energy has been dedicated to deforming women’s bodies, often with women’s own masochistic consent.
This was a 6 hour performance. Laid out on a table were 72 objects the audience could manipulate in any way they wanted to upon her body. As time passed, the audience becam more and more agressive towards her and by the end she was injured and violated; her clothes taken off her body. Many of the audience members were frightened when she cut off the performance; they thought she would retaliate.
She was confronting the audience and raising their awareness about their potential for violence, particularly towards women. They placed their desires onto her passive and inert body.
The MoMA website has a good slideshow/audio presentation on the piece: http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/190/1972