Monday, August 13, 2012

Upcoming | Marina Abramovic Institute in Hudson: Ephemeral Becomes Permanent

Yesterday in Hudson (NY) Marina Abramovic introduced plans for the Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI). The presentation occurred in the same former Community Tennis Building, which will be hosting MAI: a pretending neoclassical run-down building1from 1929, with 20,000 square feet of space The Community Tennis Building is located in Columbia Street, one block from Warren Street, Hudson main street which has undergone a revitalization in the past two decades with the ubiquitous antique dealers shops and art galleries. There is no set opening date for  MAI but, from Marina Abramovic presentation the Institute sounds definitely innovative  and hopefully will include also projects by the many artists populated the Hudson Valley, which witnessed the birth one of the first American art movements, the Hudson River School of Painting. 

The renovated building will be filled with chambers to induce several participatory experiences in the visitors, well beyond the typical superficial browsing which is often the main experience of art galleries and museum goers. The visitors will have to sign a contract before entering MAI, stating that their visit will last at least six hours. Several level of engagements will be offered, in the attempt to blur the line between artist performers and viewing audience, which will wear a lab coat, as a participant to what the artist defines as the "Abramovic method." One chamber will be filled with magnets and crystals to awaken and channel individual energy. Another visitor experience will be in the "durational chair", designed by the artist; each chair will be manouvred by an attendant who will wheel tired visitors to sleeping area. 

Abramovic announced that before starting to implement her vision she has to raise $15 million need for the renovation. The building renovation and retrofitting is designed by the Dutch archistar Rem Koolhaas of OMA and, at least from the model on view at the presentation (no walkthrough or other digital interactive visualization was presented) does not look dynamic and intriguing as the vision of Abramovic. Very static rationalist interior elevations do not seem to take in account the time based experience which characterizes a fluid art form as performance.

At the end of the presentation there was a screening, quite beautiful, of one of her first performances in the building, a kind of initiation in the relationship between the artist and the space she chose to give permanence to the ephemerality of performance art.