Humans have a dark side that we usually keep hidden. Sometimes this is done out of fear, sometimes out of shame. Whatever our reasons, there are aspects of ourselves that we prefer to obscure and we try our hardest to keep them from being discovered.
Marina Abramovic knows this all too well. The Yugoslavian-born artist has made a living by revealing the true nature of humanity. In 1974, she unveiled her performance artwork titled Rhythm 0. For Rhythm 0, Marina stood still for 6 straight hours while strangers were allowed to do anything they wanted to her.
Marina’s performance exhibition had these instructions:
“There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired.
I am the object.
During this period I take full responsibility.
Duration: 6 hours (8 pm – 2 am)”
Initially, only photographers dared approach Marina.
However, things soon began to escalate as the audience began to participate. They started picking up one of the 72 objects on the table, trying to decide which one to use on Marina and what to do to her.
CONTINUE ON PAGE 2
It started off quite tamely, as participants merely moved her around and shifted her position.
Some of them even decorated her with a few of the 72 objects.
But things took a drastic turn when a participant started cutting her with a razor!
One participant then placed a gun in Marina’s hand and pointed it at her!
CONTINUE ON PAGE 3
It got even worse when a few participants stripped off her top and started groping her.
The harassment and abuse continued to escalate towards the end of Marina’s performance.
Art critic Thomas McEvilley narrated Marina’s performance by saying:
“It began tamely. Someone turned her around. Someone thrust her arms into the air. Someone touched her somewhat intimately. The Neapolitan night began to heat up. In the third hour all her clothes were cut from her with razor blades. In the fourth hour the same blades began to explore her skin. Her throat was slashed so someone could suck her blood. Various minor sexual assaults were carried out on her body. She was so committed to the piece that she would not have resisted rape or murder. Faced with her abdication of will, with its implied collapse of human psychology, a protective group began to define itself in the audience. When a loaded gun was thrust to Marina's head and her own finger was being worked around the trigger, a fight broke out between the audience factions”
CONTINUE ON PAGE 4
Once Marina’s performance was finally over, she slowly walked over to the participants, many of whom couldn’t look her in the eye and even avoided her completely. Marina said:
“What I learned was that... if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. I felt really violated: they cut up 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 audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation”
Watch this video to see Marina talk about her performance:
What do you think of this shocking piece of performance art? Let us know below! Don’t forget to share this on social media!