Marina Abramović’s talk at Future Feminism

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marina abramovic

On Wednesday night, performance artist Marina Abramović spoke to an overflowing crowd at The Hole Gallery on Bowery as part of the gallery’s current performance series Future Feminism.  The 13 day show centers around 13 Tenets of Future Feminism, honed over three years by the women behind the show and engraved in marble discs hung around the gallery walls. The show’s five creators, Antony, Kembra Phaeler (founder of The Voluptuous Horror), Karen Black, Johanna Constantine and Bianca and Sierra Casady (aka CocoRosie) are all  interdisciplinary artists best known for their contributions in music and interest in performance. Each night, the show invited a different artist to speak on the tenets hanging around the gallery walls.

Abramović, perhaps most widely known for staring down Jay-Z at Pace Gallery last summer, seemed a natural choice for her connection to performance. She held onto two tenets, number 12 (Restore the female archetype as the center of creation) and number two (Future Feminism requires the participation of all people). In relaying her connection, Abramović talked about some of her recent exhibitions and how her work strives to change consciousness on a day to day level in order to get us closer to the existential, big picture moments that come through shared experience without barriers. In that pursuit, she had everyone in the audience get up and hug each other. A little like church but more genuine, closer to the “real, true love” she went on to talk about in explaining her work. Below, read some of Marina Abramović’s stand out quotes from the evening.

On simplifying and connecting with one’s self

We have all become consumer junkies. We just need less technology. We need less of everything. More and more of less and less. So actually we can concentrate on our own selves and find our own inner center, which we are avoiding to actually face all the time.

On her reason we need to address feminism now

When I was in Yugoslavia, I didn’t realize it was feminism. We were all together, you know? My mother was more male than female, you know, she was so tough to me. So I was always rebelling with the feminine. But the more I think about it the more I understand why we need to address this problem today. It’s about addressing the separation. There’s this kind of gate— there’s the female position, there’s the male position—that someone makes up. It’s here, tenet number two, when they say “Future Feminism requires the participation of all people” that is exactly what it is about. It’s not putting things in boxes, not in one category or another. We need to have everybody.

Her answer to “what is your why?”, her instinctual motive to create

This whole [hugging] exercise was about how we can change consciousness, how we can do something that gets things better. And how we can project love. Until you can generate the love to talk to a stranger…it’s really easy to hug a family member but a stranger? To hug them with real, true love. If we knew how to hug a stranger, with this real, true love in your heart, we could change the world completely.

You can see all 13 tenets of Future Feminism at The Hole through this Saturday, September 27.