【评论】玛丽娜·阿布拉莫维奇:每个人的一生都是一场持续的行为艺术

Q: 卡琳·德容 萨拉·戈尔德 卡罗·罗拉 瓦拉亚·拉马尼尼
Karlyn De Jongh, Sarah Gold, Carol Rolla & Valeria Romagnini
A:玛丽娜·阿布拉莫维奇 Marina Abramovic
图片提供: 马丽娜·阿布拉莫维奇 纽约肖恩·凯利画廊
Courtesy Marina Abramovic and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

Marina Abramovic
在20世纪70年代初就从事行为艺术工作。善于运用身体作为创作目标和媒介的她,在行为艺术领域是先锋人物。她的艺术是对自己身体和心理极限的挑战。
Marina Abramovi? has been a performance artist since the early 1970s. Using her own body as the subject as well as the medium for her work, she has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. Her works are an exploration of her own physical and mental limits.

Q:在你的作品中,你经常探索和发现痛苦的含义和忍耐的极限。通常你都冒着极大的危险。到了今天,也许你对生命的感受跟当初完全不一样。你今时今日对生命的感受是什么呢?你曾经想过你的生命会冒这样大的危险吗?
A:在一开始,我所做的一切只是跟随着自己的感觉去走,根本不知道自己的目标在哪。随着我的年龄增长,阅历增多,我认识到冒生命危险是很重要的,它是你进入一个新领域并且认识自己极限的重要步骤。我觉得,尤其对于一个艺术家来说,当你发现了一个表达自我的方式并且开始不停地取悦公众和市场的话,那么你就会停止对自己的尊重。所以对于我来说,寻找新领域非常重要。例如在目前,我在为法国歌剧《波莱罗》配舞,这对于我来说是完全新的领域。我从来没试过跟舞蹈家合作,更加没跟古典舞蹈家合作过。我想把新的观念引进到这个领域——这是一个很传统的领域——并且自问“能不能够在这里掀起一场革命”。这就是我最大的关注点。我越发现自我,时间过得越长,我就冒越大的险去进入新的领域。这并不局限于艺术,还包括我的生活。

Q:你在1975年首次推出“托马斯之唇”,然后在2005年纽约古根海姆重新演绎一次。你的理念是如何帮助你两次演绎的?在相同的作品里,你还会尝试用新的冒险来进入新的领域吗?
A:这次的情况不是这样的。这个例子只是一个例子。这是个特例,它只是为了展示谁在70年代的行为艺术里创作,并且把这些作品归类——比如时尚、设计、戏剧、电影和舞蹈——在70年代,几乎没人把原作者展示出来。我当时考虑的是,对于那些仍然在世的艺术家来说,表演那些我未曾见过但觉得观点很好的节目(例如Vito Acconci和Joseph Beuys)能够探寻:如果我重复这些节目,我能够为那些在世的艺术家带来什么感受?两者有什么不同?不同之处就在于我的节目会征求原作者的统一,充分理解原作品素材,并且提及原作者的名字,把自己的名字放在第二位;这就是我展示如何操作的流程。
我自己的作品“托马斯之唇”原作长达1小时。我重复了这个节目,它足足持续了7个小时。而我当时已经60岁了。人们都对我说:“哇!不过你以前都做过这么高强度的演出了。”但我在20岁的时候完全没可能坚持到7小时,因为我当时并没有那种概念和知识。现在我只是更改了这部作品的时长。我的确重复了这部作品,但并不是机械地重复,而是加入了时间的维度。

Q:所以,在你的生活中各种界限已经被打破,它们不再是静态的知识?
A:是的。它已经改变了,而且我还在不断探寻着。我在巴西花了3个月跟萨满僧人一起研习精神的力量……我可以学习到那种能量,它跟不可见的世界有关。我到那些有能量场的地方去,例如瀑布,石阵那里去,然后亲身感受。我已经学习到这种能量,却觉得依然不够。行为艺术跟非物质性有关,你只能够靠感觉来指导。你可以感觉到能量。你不能够像油画那样把行为艺术挂在墙上欣赏。所以,你每天都必须学一点东西,并且学会如何掌握这种能量,这比我到目前为止付出的努力要求要高得多。

Q:你在30多年后再次把自己的腹腔切开,肯定对你的身体造成冲击。你不害怕经历了这些风险之后,你的寿命会缩减?
A:你要知道,我从没像现在那样感到舒服。我今年将会到67岁。我的身体条件很好,我的免疫系统非常好。我有一次去体检,检查自己的肾、皮肤、心脏等等。医生说:“你的器官比你的年龄年轻20多年!”我觉得我的行为艺术令我更加强壮。我觉得那些认为到了60多岁身体就开始要保养并且吃养老金的人比我更加有更大的死亡风险。

Q:你害怕垂死吗?
A:不害怕。我甚至总是在策划自己的葬礼。我现在跟罗伯特·威尔逊演出一部自己的剧场版葬礼,剧名是《玛丽娜·阿布拉莫维奇的生与死》。首先,我不相信死亡的存在。这是我最近才发现的真相。它只是一种能量的变换过程。如果你明白能量并且可以操控能量,你就会明白死亡并不存在。另外我要提的是肉体的死亡,但这是完全两码事。精神上的死亡是不存在的。如果你明白这另外一层真相——正如我在巴西所领略的那样,那么你将不会畏惧死亡。

Q:你曾经指出你的创作更多的是表达你的观点,而非作品本身的外貌。你创办的“行为艺术保存中心”似乎正在推广你自己的观点。通过你的作品,你的思想甚至会在你的死亡后流传下来。你希望自己的作品和理念能够永存吗?你觉得你的能量能够永存吗?
A:你要知道,这跟我自己无关。我并非总是自我关注,我只是关注我学到的东西,我如何把它传达到其他人身上,其他人如何从中受益。很重要的一点是:在我们今天的西方社会,我们如何改变意识?我的意思是:你生活在意大利,但那里的情况真是一场灾难。那里有那么多的问题,如果意大利人能够改变领导人的意识,引入更多的精神生活,至少改变他们对世界的看法,那么所有的事情都会很不同。我认为,如果没有人愿意干这种事,艺术家就应该干这种事。
而且,对于我来说,每一个旅程都从勇敢的第一步开始。批判社会指出弊病非常容易,但是个体如何改变现状却很重要。我只是在自己的作品中做到最好。哪怕我只能改变个人层面上的东西,例如那些在我的中心里发生接触的个人,那么我会感到非常高兴。这点很重要。我们很容易就能够放大自己的自我形象,让自己的名字永存。但是正确的途径并非如此。更重要的是人们可以从我学习到的东西中受益,而我自己也选择很艰辛的学习途径,这正是我目前所做的。我多年来一直研究原始文化,与大自然接触。我一边学习,一边增加阅历。我从不从书上学习,我直接从经验中学习。

Q:你那个由库哈斯设计的中心,会成为行为艺术和教育的长期中心,它将会成为阿布拉莫维奇方法论的大本营。你希望转化些什么东西到学院身上?你如何寄望你身后的行为艺术发展?
A:他们已经不再是学员,我宁愿说他们是我的受众;我指的是那些愿意到中心里的人们。但这是另外一样重要的东西。这个中心并非只是我自己一个人的成果。它是艺术家、制片人、戏剧导演、舞蹈、歌剧、音乐、科学、新艺术、精神世界和精神世界新观点所组成的集合体。我想营造一个不同人都可以受益、创造和分享创意的公社。我想打造一个平台。它并非我自己展示个人舞台的平台,它是我展示各种媒介的平台。

Q:当你在2009年威尼斯双年展的“个人结构”论坛上发言的时候,你指出,自己在演绎过程中要100%献出自我,而且观众的在场也非常重要。除了献出自我之外,你有没有收到回报?你希望从观众身上得到什么回报?
A:我不知道。我可不从这个角度上想。我只是觉得我是一个个体,我要献出自己的100%个体,观众可以随自己的意愿摆布我的个体。当你付出某些东西以图收获一些东西的时候,它已经就是个错误的能量。你必须无条件地献出自我,而且不计回报。如果有所回报,那就很好;如果没有,那也非常好。你必须在自己生活中有所目标,而且我非常想知道:我的目标在哪。自从我的孩提时代,我就有一个非常清晰的目标,那就是成为艺术家,而我能够在这个领域里做得尽善尽美。

Q:但我也觉得这跟“分享此刻”有关。你说过自己在观众面前并不会觉得太痛苦,但当你独自在家剖开自己的时候,你哭了。
A:你要知道,对于我来说最重要的是展示一切。我们并非英雄,我们有软弱的一面,我觉得展示自己的每一面很重要。正如罗伯特·威尔逊作品所展示,它展示了我的各个方面:那个英勇而且乐于挑战的一面,以及脆弱和无助的一面,当然第三面就是非常富有精神性和僧侣性格的一面。每一面都是真实的。我觉得每个人都有矛盾的地方,但很少有人有展示这些矛盾的勇气。多数人都为自己的某一面感到羞耻,并且尝试藏起来。但我并不如此。我甚至没有个人电子邮箱。每个人对我的每样事物了解都是真实的。我藏不住秘密,而且当你展示自己感到羞耻的事情的时候,它是一种解脱。

Q:我也是。我藏不住秘密,而且总是心直口爽,对每个人都真实以对。但是如果你保持这种品性并且终身为艺术服务,你会不会觉得自己的整个一生就是一场行为艺术?
A:我不知道。每个人的一生都是一场持续的行为艺术。每个人从出生开始,每天都离自己的死亡日子靠近一天,最终在某一天,这个人死了。但我觉得最重要的一点是,在这一生中,这个人的每个时刻都感到幸福,你对自己所做的事情感到幸福,而且无需妥协。我觉得这样是最重要的:不用与社会妥协,不用与自己妥协。

Q:我还记得第一次见到你的情形。那是在2009年威尼斯双年展的“个人结构”论坛上。你的气场占尽了整个现场。空间对于你的演绎来说有什么意义?
A:对于我来说空间非常重要。我更加喜欢博物馆,而不是私人的空间或者画廊,因为对于我来说博物馆是一个现代殿堂。这是公众前来欣赏艺术的地方。我是一名艺术家,我喜欢艺术的语境。我不喜欢没有艺术的空间。当初我策划演出《七个小品》(2005)的时候,它足足花了我12年来找到合适的地方,而我认为合适的地方是古根海姆博物馆,因为那里是为展示精神性艺术而设计的建筑物。我除了在那里之外不想到别的地方演出。所以我等候了12年。但我不想在其他场地演出这个作品了。
我希望有一个特别的空间和特别的建筑物。而且来到博物馆参观的人群并不局限于艺术圈内的受众。比如,拿MoMa作例子,当我在那里创作的时候,很多人都会来,因为那里是一个旅游热点。他们来了只想看那座博物馆。但当他们看到我的作品时,他们会开始考虑第二次造访,而且成为我的忠实观众。你看看吧,这就是博物馆能够接触到所有界别观众的原因,而并不局限于艺术受众。

Q:你不害怕自己成为偶像吗?根据你的宣言,这并非艺术家应该做的事情。
A:我不害怕成为任何东西。我觉得成不成为偶像是一个副作用层面的问题。但这并非我目前从事项目的目标。你要知道,我经常回归自我,我有自己做某样事情的理由,而我的理由就是要改变人们的意识,提升人的精神空间。这就是我的主要原因。公众如何反馈我的作品,那是他们自己的问题,而不是我的问题。
请允许我继续展开“偶像”一词讨论。你要知道,艺术家不应该成为偶像。实际上,当一个艺术家开始变成偶像的过程的时候,这是一回事;但一个艺术家应该永不追求成为偶像。这就是问题所在了。在这个情况下,他的自大情绪会阻碍他的创作,这样就危险了。但如果他被受众崇拜,那是他不能够控制的。但是他自己不应该相信自己是偶像。我从不相信自己是偶像。

Q:那就意味着你必须全天候批判自己。
A:我是自己最差的批评者,因为我经常要求自己奉献出100%,甚至更多。如果我不献出,我会非常不开心。

Q:你的艺术另外一个很重要的议题是持续性。赫尔曼·尼茨跟我说,你在20多岁的时候参加过他的演出。在2010年,我自己是Nitsch第130届行为艺术节的静态模特。该演出持续了共7个小时。对于我来说,一个最有趣的体验是,我并不察觉到时间持续得久,我总是觉得自己身处于“当前”的状态。你的演出有些甚至持续数天。我这样理解是否正确:你把演出时间持续很长,以至于你自己感觉不到“持续”?当演出正式结束之后,你感到还在持续吗?
A:首先,在我至今长达40多年的行为艺术经验里,我明白持续性是最重要的因素,因为演绎者要进入某种意识状态。随后,当我进入这种意识状态后,我可以把观众也带入这个状态。但我需要时间,而且观众也需要时间。这就是为什么演出的长度是如此重要。这就是为什么你作为观众,必须签下协议书,与我一起共度这7个小时,以获得这个经验。因为持续性……21世纪最稀缺的东西就是时间。我们很多东西都没有时间。那就是我所想的:要挽回时间。

Q:在你的演绎中的“此时此地”概念里,时间对于你来说非常重要。回首你过往和当前的“此时此地”情景里,时间流逝对于你来说意味着什么?
A:没有什么。正如我曾经说过的,如果你真的要感受当前感觉,时间并非真的存在。这是你感受过的最美好最圆满的时刻,而我希望可以让我的受众越多地感受到这个时刻。但你会知道它何时结束,因为你不能够很长时间维持这种感觉。之后你就会跟其他人一样感受到时间。对于我自己来说,我的真实生活时间很稀缺。我的每个小时都被挤占着要做某样事情。我在6点醒来,好像一个士兵那样疯狂工作,所以当我表演的时候,我重新赎回自己的时间。

Q:在作品“Count”里,有一首儿歌唱道:“还有能量,还有希望。”你个人对未来的希望是什么?你对行为艺术的希望是什么?
A:我现在已经不再思考行为叶黄素了。我思考的是人类的未来。我对人类总体来说更加感兴趣。对于我来说,行为艺术只是工具,并无特别。
我的意思是,没人知道人类将来能否存活,或者人类发生什么改变。我不知道。我自己并没有千里眼。我只是希望一天能够有26个小时,这样我就可以完成我想做的事情,完成自己的遗产——打造一个能够汇聚能够提升我们精神境界的,并且改变我们社会意识的平台,让我们明白我们的相互依存,意识到我们此时此刻在这个星球上的所作所为并不正确。我们需要觉醒,我们有科学家,我们有哲学家,我们有建筑师,他们忙于开发新技术,还有艺术家……如果我们把他们整合在一起的话,我们可以创造新的方案和新的维度解决问题。这正是我希望在有生之年可以发生的事情。

肖像与画

Q: In your work you have tried to understand and discover the meaning of pain, the limits of endurance and often you took great risks. Today your perception of life will probably be different from the moment you started. What is the value that you give to your life today? Do you think that you have ever put your life in real danger?
A: I think that at the beginning, many things, many ideas about my work, were done more by intuition, without really knowing where I’m going. The older I get and the more experience I have, I understand that taking risks is incredibly important and it is a crucial step to get to a new territory and to understand your own limits. I think, especially as an artist, when you find the one way to express yourself and then start repeating yourself to please the public or the market, then you kind of stop respecting yourself. So, to me it is really important to be always looking for new territories. Right now, for example, I am choreographing in the French opera The Bolero which is a completely new territory for me. I have never worked with dancers, especially not with classical dancers. To see how I can actually bring my new ideas into this kind of category—which is very, very traditional—and to see “can I make a revolution here?”, that is what I am really interested in. The more I am, the more time passes, the more I take a risk to go to places where I have never been. Not just in art, but also in life.

Q: How does it help you then, when you performed Lips of Thomas in 1975 and ‘repeated’ the performance in 2005 at the Guggenheim in New York City? By doing a similar performance, are you then still taking a new risk in the sense of ‘finding new territories’?
A: No this was… First of all that example was only one example. It was unique and this was really meant to give an example to everybody else who is taking the works from the 1970s and putting these works into different categories—like fashion, like design, theatre, film, dance—without actually giving any kind of recognition to the original sources, to the artists who made these works in the 1970s. I was thinking that, of the few artists who are still alive and performing that I should take some of these examples, especially examples from other artists of whom I have never even seen the piece, but which I liked (like Vito Acconci or Joseph Beuys) and find out: if I repeat the piece, what kind of example should I be giving to the people who are doing it? And what is the difference? The difference would be to ask and pay for permission, to understand the original material and put the name of the artist where the material comes from first, and then your own name in second place; this is the example how it should be done.
My piece Lips of Thomas… The original piece lasted one hour. I repeated this performance and it lasted seven hours. And I was sixty years old. People said to me: “Oh, but you have done such strong performances before.” But I could never do seven hours when I was 20 years old, because I never had that kind of concentration and knowledge. Now, for this piece, I have just changed the time. So, I was repeating the performance, but not exactly ‘repeating’ it, because I put the dimension of time into this piece.

Q: So, the boundaries that you have been trying to ‘explore’ in your live, they have actually shifted and it is not ‘simply’ a matter of knowing where they are.
A: Yes, it has really shifted and I am still constantly searching. I just spent three months in Brazil working with the Shamans and studying in co-operational entities about the spirits and how that kind of energy… I can learn about that kind of energy, it’s the invisible world that actually deals with this. To go to the places in nature that have that energy and power, like waterfalls, like certain rock formations and so on, and to expose myself and see what I can learn… Because, you know, I have learned about energy, but not enough yet.
Performance art is about immateriality, and this is only something that you can feel. It is energy that you can feel. You cannot put it on the wall like a painting. So, you have to learn every day more and more about how to deal with this and how you can deal with it much further than I have done until now.

Q: To cut open your belly again 30 years later, must have had quite an impact on your body. Aren’t you afraid that by taking these risks with your body, your life will be a few days shorter?
A: You know, I have never felt better in my life. Now, this year I will be getting 67. My body is excellent; my immune system is good. I went to the doctor the other day, to have my organs checked, you know: my liver, my skin, my heart. He said: “your organs look 20 years younger than your age!” I think because of my performances I am only becoming stronger. I think that anybody who thinks their life finishes when they are 60 and must go into pension, has a much bigger risk to die, than I have.

Q: Are you afraid of dying?
A: No. I am even planning my own funeral all the time. And now I am playing my own funeral in a theater piece with Robert Wilson, titled The Life & Death of Marina Abramovi?. First of all, I do not think that death exists. This is what I discovered lately. It is just another form, a transformation of energy. If you deal with energy and understand energy, then you understand that death is not there. Another thing is the physical death, but that is something completely different. There is no spiritual death, that does not exist. So when you really understand that and you see this other reality outside of the now—like I did just now in Brazil—then your death is not something to be afraid of.

Q: You have indicated that your work is mainly about your ideas, rather than about what it looks like. With your Center for the Preservation of Performance Art you seem to be teaching other people about your ideas. In this way, your work, your thoughts will continue to exist after you yourself have died. Do you wish your work and thoughts to live on forever? Do you think this ‘energy’ will continue to exist?
A: You know, it is not about me. I am not so concentrated on myself, I’m just concentrated on what I learn, on how I can transmit this to other people and how they can benefit from this. And the really important thing is: today, in our western society, how can we change consciousness? I mean: you live in Italy and what is happening there is such a real disaster. There are so many problems! If only the Italians can change the consciousness of their leaders and bring some kind of spirituality—at least a different view of the world—then everything will look different. I think it is very important that if nobody is doing it, then artists should be doing this.
But also for me, every journey starts with a big step. It is very easy to criticize society and say what is wrong, but much more important is what the individual can do on his own. I am trying to do my best in my own work, in my own art. If I can change just some individuals, for example the people I am dealing with in my institute, I would be very happy. This is really very important. It is so easy to just be in an ego trip, and then you can see your name is going to live to eternity. It is not about that. Much more important is that people can benefit from what I learn and I have really learned my lessons in the hard way, because that is what I am doing. I have spent so many years working with indigenous cultures, being in nature. Everything I have learned, I have actually experienced. I do not learn from the books; I have learned from the direct experiences.

Q: Your Center, designed by Rem Koolhaas, will serve as a performance and education center of long-duration performance art and it will represent the home to The Abramovi? Method. What do you hope to transmit to your students? How do you hope performance will develop after you?
A: They are not students any more. I am talking about my public. I am talking about the people who would come to the institute, but this is another also important thing. This institute it is not just about my work. It is going to be a combination between artists, filmmakers, theatre directors, dance, opera, music, scientists, the new technology, the spirituality, the new ideas about spirituality; it’s going to be a kind of laboratory between everything. I wanted to create a commune with different people who can benefit and can create and then expose their creations to others. I wanted to create a platform. It is not that I am showing them my work; I’m showing the unity of different media together.

Q: When you spoke at our PERSONAL STRUCTURES symposium at the 2009 Venice Biennale, you have said that in your performances you give yourself 100% and that the presence of the audience is very important. Besides giving yourself, do you take something back? Is there something you want back from your audience?
A: I do not, you know. I am not thinking in that way. I am only thinking that I as individual have to give 100% and then they can do whatever they want with this. The moment you are giving something in order to get something else back, it is already wrong, wrong energy. You have to give unconditionally and you should not expect anything back. If it happens it is wonderful, but if it does not, it is wonderful too. You have to have a purpose in your life and I have always been interested in knowing: “what is my purpose?” Since I was a child, I have had a very clear idea that I am an artist and my purpose is to be in this field, as good as I can.

Q: But I think it is also about ‘sharing the moment’. You have said that you do not feel pain so much when you stand in front of your audience, but when you cut yourself when you are at home, you cry.
A: You know, the most important thing about me is to show everything. We are not heroes, we have vulnerable sides and I think it is important to show every part of yourself. I mean like now with the piece that Robert Wilson made, it shows exactly all the different parts of myself: the one who is very heroic and pushes the limits, the other who is very fragile and full of vanity and the third one who is very spiritual and wants to become a monk. Everything is true. I think that every single human being has his own contradictions with himself, but there are only few people that have the courage to show them. Most people are ashamed of things and try to hide them. But I am not. I do not even have personal email. I do not have it. Everything, anybody knows about me is common knowledge. I do not have secrets, and it is so liberating especially when you show things you are ashamed of.

Q: Me too, I do not have secrets, I always try to speak open and honest to everybody. But if you are always the same and live your life for art, could you see your life as a total durational performance?
A: I do not know. Everybody’s lives are long durational performances. Everybody starts with the birth and every single day is closer to your death and then one day you die. But I think what is very important is that in that life every single moment you feel happy and that you are really happy with what you are doing and do not make compromises. That I think is the most important: to not make compromises to society, nor to yourself.

Q: I can still remember the first time I met you. It was at our PERSONAL STRUCTURES symposium at the 2009 Venice Biennale and to me, you ‘filled’ the space with your shear presence. What significance does the space where you perform have for you?
A: To me space is very important. I prefer much more museums than private spaces or galleries, because to me museums are the modern temples. That is where where the public comes to see art. I am an artist and I like the context of art. I do not like other places where this context of art is missing. Let’s say, when I wanted to make Seven Easy Pieces (2005), it took me 12 years to get the place I wanted and the place I wanted was the Guggenheim museum, because the Guggenheim museum was built with the idea to show spiritual art and I want exactly to be there and nowhere else. So, I waited 12 years. But I didn’t want to make it in any other place.
I want a particular space, a particular architecture. And, you know, the people who come to the museum, they are not just an art public. Let’s say in MoMA, when I made my work there, there are many people who come because it is a tourist location. They came just to see the museum. But when they saw my work, they started coming back and became really my very preferable audience. You see, it’s in the museum because you can reach all kinds of public, not just an art public.

Q: Are you not afraid that you have become an idol—something that according your own manifesto, an artist should not be?
A: I am not afraid of anything. I think that being an idol or not being an idol is a side effect. But this is not the reason why I am doing things. You know, I always go back to myself and I have the reason why I am doing it and the reason is really to change the consciousness, to lift human spirit. That is my main reason. Whatever the public projects in my work, that is their problem, it is not my problem.
Can I just say a bit more about the ‘idol’? You know, artists should not be, should not become an idol. Actually, when an artist is becoming an idol in public, that is one thing. But an artist should never believe that he is in fact an idol. That is the problem. That is the danger, because if that would happen, his ego becomes an obstacle to his work. But if he is idolized by his public, that is something that he cannot control. But he himself should not believe he is an idol. And I’ve never believed myself that I am an idol.

Q: That means you must be criticizing yourself the entire time.
A: I am the worst critic of myself, because I always demand from myself—always—100% and more. And if I do not give it, then I am very unhappy.

Q: Another subject that seems very important for your art is duration. Hermann Nitsch told me, that when you were in your twenties, you took part in one of his performances. In 2010, I was a passive model myself in Nitsch’s 130th Aktion. The performance took seven hours in total. For me, one of the most interesting experiences from this event was that I had no feeling for duration. I mean: Time was passing, and I experienced the sequence of events, but the feeling of duration was missing. It seems that in your performances you strive for this feeling of being in the ‘now’ and aim to not feel the duration of the passing time, but be in the ‘present’ as long as possible. Some of your performances took several days. Do I understand correctly that you use ‘duration’ in your work in order to not experience duration itself? Did you ever manage to stretch this state of being, when the performance was over?
A: First of all, from the now 40 years of experience in performance art, I understand that duration is the most important of all, because the performer needs to get into a certain state of consciousness. Then, after I get into this state of consciousness, I can bring the audience to the same state. But I need the time and the audience needs the time. This is why the length of the performance is extremely important. This is why my institute in Hudson is going to be based on duration. That is why you as an audience have to sign the contract to stay six hours with me as the public in order to give the experience. Because the duration… One thing we don’t have enough in this 21st century is time, time for anything. That is what I want: to claim time back.
Q: While doing your performances in the ‘here-and-now’, Time seems very important to you. When looking back at the works you have created and at your presence in many different ‘here-and-now’ situation’s, what does the passing of time in general mean to you?
A: Nothing. As I said, for me if you really succeed to be in the present, time does not really exist. That is the most beautiful and fulfilling moment that you ever can experience and I hope that I can teach my public to be more and more in that moment. But you know when it is finished, because you cannot maintain for long time that feeling. Then you have time like everybody else and you know, in my case, I do not have time in my real life. Every hour, I have things to do. I wake up at six o’clock. I am like a soldier working like hell, so when I make a performance, I claim my time.

Q: During the work Count on us a children’s choir sings: “Still there is energy and there is hope.” What are your personal hopes about the future? And what about your hopes for performance art?
A: I do not think about performance art any more. I am thinking about the future of humankind. I am much more interested in humankind. For me, performance is just a tool, nothing else.
I mean, who knows if we will exists, or would change or something. I do not know. I am not clairvoyant. I am only thinking that I hope that a day would have 26 hours, so that I can finish everything I want and create this legacy and create this platform where the really different minds of our century can get together and create something which is meaningful and can change or lift the human spirit, but can also change the consciousness of our society today, to understand interdependency, to understand that what we are doing on this planet at the moment, is not right. We have to kind of wake-up, and I think if we have the scientists, if we have philosophers, if we have architects, if we have somebody who is busy with new technology, the artist… If we put all of them together we could maybe create new solutions, new dimensions. This is what I hope is going to happen in my life time.

肖像与画 马丽娜

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