“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.”
this is why performance art is important
So every single person who told me ‘ignore them they’ll go away’ and ‘you can’t let them know they bothered you’ and ‘They’ll stop if they don’t see you react’ and all that bull shit, my entire school career, I want you to look good and hard at this.
Tous les hommes sont menteurs, inconstants, faux, bavards, hypocrites, orgueilleux et lâches, méprisables et sensuels ; toutes les femmes sont perfides, artificieuses, vaniteuses, curieuses et dépravées ; le monde n’est qu’un égout sans fond où les phoques les plus informes rampent et se tordent sur des montagnes de fange ; mais il y a au monde une chose sainte et sublime, c’est l’union de deux de ces êtres si imparfaits et si affreux. On est souvent trompé en amour, souvent blessé et souvent malheureux ; mais on aime, et quand on est sur le bord de sa tombe, on se retourne pour regarder en arrière ; et on se dit : “ J’ai souffert souvent, je me suis trompé quelquefois, mais j’ai aimé. C’est moi qui ai vécu, et non pas un être factice créé par mon orgueil et mon ennui.