Marina Abramovic’s opens Buenos Aires Performance Biennale in saying:
“In theater a knife is not real and blood is ketchup. Whereas in performance a knife is a knife and blood is blood”
Those who didn`t quite grasp this concept at first learned quickly during the first two days of the Abramovic Method performance just what she was talking about. In the vast area of El Centro de Experimentación at the University of San Martín, visitors became active participants of the Marina`s social art-experiment – a collective meditation of sorts. It is forbidden to enter the room with bags, to speak or leave until the end of the performance.
At the entrance, every participant gets a pair of soundproof headphones and a calmly smiling guide dressed in black leads them to a kingdom of the absolute silence. There are hundreds of people: some of them sit staring at colorful paper squares plastered onto the walls, others try to separate rice and lentils from the pile and count them. A group of people walks so slowly that they seem to be frozen in time; another stands on the wooden pedestal, everyone with their eyes closed. There are even couches for those who prefer to carry out the process of self-immersion in a laid-back manner.
So what is the Abramovic Method about? The artist once imparted that one of the most important lessons she learned from Robert Wilson, an experimental theater stage director when he said.
“When you are standing in one place, and you are thinking to the next movement, you are already not present”
To be at present, synchronizing mind with body, to be conscious of every insignificant action you do, whether it`s walking or sitting or drinking water, is the way Abramovic practices her technique. Spending several hours ‘locked’ in the room, left to their own devices, dissolved into the silence, by the end of the performance visitors managed to reach a new level of recognition of the reality. For some, the experience was so overwhelming they couldn’t stop crying. There was variation in the reactions being expressed by those who participated but of the 2,600 people who attended it’s doubtful that an indifferent emotional response was popular among them. All of this leads one to think that the Abramovic Method appears to be an effective one.
The work of Diana Szeinblum called Los contempladores (The Observers) is also meditative. The artist interacts with participants inviting them for a tour to discover ‘ocean feeling’. For this purpose, she selected three different places inside and outside of the city that refer to the poetic concept of the ocean. While the bus takes the participants to the next destination, they are listening to a sound compilation from a guided audio tour that prepares them for the coming experience. According to the idea of the performance, by observing the water in its different states we can discover the ocean inside of ourselves.
We already wrote about Uruguayan artist Martin Saste that gave everyone a chance to personate Eva Peron by standing on the balcony of Casa Rosada during his performance Eva: Volveré y seré performers. Now we can see how it went.
Several performances that have been already started will last more than a week. Thus, the sound experiment Murmullo by Leonello Zambón / Eugenia González (Casa Nacional del Bicentenario) will run until the mid of May. Whereas the dancing piece by Osías Yanov will be shown every Thursday and Saturday at 7 and 7.30 pm in MALBA until the end of the Biennale.
The program of this week also promises to be quite intense: two concerts of Laurie Anderson (May 8, 9) and the artist talk that will take place in Parque de la Memoria on 10th of May and two days of spectacular theatrical performance Under de Si by Diego Bianchi / Luis Garay.