No intermission

There is very little about Marina Abramović that is not awe-inducing. For one of her early works, Rhythm 0
Abramović during Rhythm 0, with a loaded gun in her left hand, pointing at her head.
, she stood in a room for six hours, next to a table with 72 objects, all of which the audience was free to use on her in whichever way they saw fit. She has developed an excellent method that is helping me meditate in a more creative way. At MoMa, she celebrated her retrospective by performing The Artist is Present, she spent months at a table gazing into the eyes of strangers, never getting up. Her fifty-year tenure as one of the world’s leading performance artists has inspired countless people and she has let performance art reach far beyond the invisible but sturdy boundaries of high-brow art.

I remember how casual I felt about having obtained tickets for No Intermission at Carré. I knew of Marina, and Anja sure was excited (she has been trying to find a torrented version of the nowhere-to-be-found documentary The Artist is Present for weeks now, with no success), and I even took the time to research her work a bitMoMA has a wonderful Flickr series showcasing the people who sat across from Marina during The Artist is Present . I didn’t at all understand what I was to expect, and true to form I met that lack of understanding with a lack of true enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, I did join Anja in showing up extra early, and so at 10 A.M. on a Saturday, we were the first in line for Marina’s 12-hour group perfomance show.

Performers

The event was kicked of by Marina, who taught a one-hour workshop on her method. After that, we were free to roam Carré for eleven hours, where ten performance artists were scattered around the building. We had access to areas usually closed off to the public, which made for an exciting day.

  • Abel Azcona with La Savia: having Carré’s basement all to himself, Abel had a three-screen installation where the audience simultaneously got acquainted with him narrating his abusive and neglectful childhood, him spacing on heroin, and him prostituting himself for the last time. I was quite late to the party, but apparently he has actually taken heroin in the theatre upstairs as well, and people were taking care of his body. Later, during the afterparty, I complemented him on his work. He gave me a tight embrace and whispered “I love you” in my ear, smelling of whatever he had clearly been drinking extensively. I felt ashamed to learn that I loved his substance abuse, but predominantly as an art form.

  • Carla Adra with The office of tears, the employee: I only spent a little bit of time looking at Carla. She was stationed in the coat check area, a busy hallway that didn’t allow me to concentrate on what she was doing. I saw a few people leave the booth crying with a look of relief on their faces, so I imagine the experience was worthwhile for them.

  • Maria Stamenkovic with Herranz Building 2: I didn’t pay much attention to this, as it was one of four performance pieces happening in a single space.
  • Dante Buu with in my tongue, I dream of your mouth, my Alexander:
  • Miles Greenberg with Landscape with Figures:
  • Yiannis Pappas with The Revise:
  • Yingmei Duan with Yingmei in Wonderland:
  • Maurício Ianês with crossfire: another one of the
  • Ana Prvacki with Bee Intense:
  • Anthony Hüseyin with Everything Sounds Better in the Bathroom and Portable Disco

Highlights

At some point during the evening, the anarchy of the afternoon’s performances had died down, and the main stage had turned into Anthony Hüseyin’s night club. In the front of the stage, two people positioned two chairs across from each other, and began Abramović’s famous gaze. It was fascinating to look at, particularly because of what was happening around them. Slowly, a bigger and bigger crowd began to form behind them, with onlookers eagerly hoping that one of them would get up.

After a while, though, people began pulling up chairs, reminding me that you can always Draw your own shell.

My takeaways

Franko B as a DJ

A dimly light photograph of the main stage of Carré, with a crowd dancing on front of a DJ booth, in which Franko B was playing a mean set