Saturday, February 26, 2011

Marina Abramovic Talk at SCAD deFINE Art Series audio transcript

Marina Abramovic, The Artist Is Present, MoMA
Thursday was SCAD's keynote talk for its deFINE Art series of artist talks featuring performance artist Marina Abramovic, who pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. A Google search will tell you more about her than I ever could.

The main purpose of this post is to share an audio recording I made of the talk. She thought lecturing on her past work to be boring, so she decided instead to give a two-hour lesson on performance art. She shared a curated selection of performance video clips structured by body part (head, hands, feet, torso, body drama, etc.) from a wide variety of artists including herself, along with her thoughts on each. Video recording was not allowed, so without the video clips much of the impact will be missed, but she mentions the title and artist's name for many of the clips, so independent research can fill in the visual gaps.

[Edit: ArtRelish has the full video available, embedded after the jump]

Regardless of the lack of visuals, the audio itself is highly worth listening to (all two hours) if for nothing but Marina's insight and tutelage. [Or, watch the video above] I've left in the sound from the clips where there was sound, and I have edited out gaps of silence and trimmed excessive clapping to keep the recording more listenable. I also put it through a compressor and EQ to level out the vocals and get rid of boomy frequencies as much as possible.

As I move more toward a focus on performance including public interactions and interjections in my own working process, such an in-depth schooling was mind exploding. Until then I hadn't placed as much weight on the performative aspects of my work, though lately I've been moving more in that direction. Most of my experience with performance-based visual art has not been so positive. Likely due the the 85% crap rule. There is such a purity in Marina's work that can't help but cut through the bullshit and pierce like an arrow through your soul. Speaking of piercing arrows:

I am a firm believer that truth lies in that which we most try to deny. Fear, uncomfortableness, vulnerability. It was truly an inspiration to strip down naked, in all senses, and lay it all out, no matter how scary it might be.

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