Marina Abramović is best known for her performance pieces, in which she tries to explore what is possible for an artist to do in the name of art. Her best known piece was the recent “The Artist Is Present,” in which she sat motionless for 736.5 hours over the course of three months, inviting visitors to sit opposite her and make eye contact for as long as they wanted. So many people began spontaneously crying across from her that blogs and Facebook groups were set up for those people.
Her bravest piece, however, is my favorite. This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her. She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol, on a table near her and invited the viewers to use them on her however they wanted.
Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly. “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
This piece revealed something terrible about humanity, similar to what Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, both of which also proved how readily people will harm one another under unusual circumstances.
This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back, and is particularly powerful because it defies what we think we know about ourselves. I’m certain the no one reading this believes the people around him/her capable of doing such things to another human being, but this performance proves otherwise.
Thus far, my sorors and I have been working hard to spread the word, from our “Teal Tuesdays” (teal is the official color for the commemorative month), to sharing statistics and facts with the student body, to our whiteboard campaign. It was great to see my peers willingly join in and express themselves, as we worked to raise awareness about SAAM. :)
This is just a few of the MANY photos we have taken, posted, and shared…and from what I’ve been informed, our movement has been picked up by the Deltas and our sorors at Bethune-Cookman University, as well.
Women are smart, thoughtful individuals who know what is best for them. They do not need old white men telling them what to do through more government regulations. What they do need is comprehensive age-apprpriate sex education, access to birth control and a life devoid of other men and women trying to control their sexuality.
Cute advice. Rapist-sympathizers sharing tips on Twitter.
Men rape, facilitate rape, and protect each other when they rape. This is the real ~bro code.~ This is why I’m uncomfortable as fuck around men who talk about the “bro code” at all in any sense, because this is the culmination of that mentality and it is fucking dangerous.