OK, I am firmly opposed to talking about any aspect of Marina Abramovic because I find it banal and irrelevant. However I like sci-fi kitsch and dystopic political allegories so I could not let the virtual tour of her impending Institute (MAI) go unremarked. Personally, I don’t care what kind of self-indulgent celebrity spectacles she produces as her “art” today, but the MAI earns her a special place in hell because its sole purpose is to feed her ego as performance-art-high-priestess by fleecing the young and gullible. Once up in Hudson they will give their time and presumably (primarily) money, just for the chance to worship at her totalitarian altar, in only the idiotic ways she sees fit.
In the video Abramovic wanders around a gutted factory building describing the stages her devotees will move through once its completed. The 3D computer illustrations show a curiously fascist fantasy of The Future, and funny how that still looks like a late 1970s space palace. (Of course DISmagazine has been parodying this exact aesthetic intersection of corporate-culture, spas and techno-futurological masturbation for some time now, like here…)
Her narration is beyond parody and is presented in bold, with my commentary:
The first thing happen. You enter the space and you enter in reception hall. In this reception hall you going to get a contract. This contract you have to sign, and you give your “word of honor” that you going to spend in this institute six hours.
Can this disturbing document look any sadder? At least when the Sea Witch makes you sign away your identity everything is gold and there are sparklers and a song and a quill made out of a fish skeleton.
You will be given lab coats, headphones to completely block any sound. And you have to give your belongings to safety deposit box, so there is nothing to remind you of outside world. Your are going to go completely into another type of reality.
That’s right, check your worries at the door. Soon you won’t worry about ANYTHING ever again (evil witch laugh…)
First is to do “slow motion walk.” Then you going to go into eyes-gazing-chamber, where with a person you never saw in your life you’re going to have eye contact.
It’s like the worst first date you’ve ever been on.
After that you’re going to the crystal cave, and sit with the closed eyes and see how the energy crystals work on you.
A crystal cave just like the one Superman was born in. He had powers too!
After that you going to meditation chamber, maybe somewhere here. The bed you have to lie on is just suspended in the space by magnetic force, so you can really feel anti-gravitation kind of experience.
You HAVE to lay on it, though as you can see it will be very uncomfortable. That is just called anti-gravity-kind-of. YOU HAVE TO, YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT. Also, this won’t really exist.
After you finish this you’re going to the “wheel chair.” There is a special “wheel chair attendant” going to wheel you into main hall where everything else going to happen—can be opera, can be theatre, can be dance, can be film, music, performance. And the different artists going to make different works.
At this point you have been drugged and your senses jellied, so we have the guard, ahem, “wheelchair attendant” transport you. DON’T GET UP, ITS NOT TIME.
And if the performance is going to be many hours and you fall asleep, you are going to the different place where you’re actually going to stay asleep.
Once you’re comatose we take you to a pod where the MATRIX will use your organic body for fuel.
And we have lecture halls.
For “serious things to happening” like, trying to learn the “human” “feelings”.
We also going to have the “science chamber”.
Oh yes, I was beginning to think this was all total bull-shit. BUT they are going to have a “science chamber” where very important “future-type-things” happen! Like wiggly ponytail lines swishing between two drawings of brains. Say what you will about the aesthetic merit of Marina’s work, but the “science” has always been rock solid.
We going to have a “spiritual chamber”.
In case you thought we seem too inhumane, we provide a state of the art “spiritual chamber” where you can stand alone holding blocks against a wall with your body.
To have the really laboratory. You come here not just to see the work but to change yourselves through the work. You give us your time and we give you something that is unique, and maybe this experience you can bring in your own life, your own work, whatever you do. We hope this is going to be future. This is going to be something that never even been before because in the whole world there is nothing long durational in that way, and theres nothing immaterial as much as this place.
I’m not saying that Marina Abromavic is a Reptilian Humanoid. I would never say that. What I will say is that submitting yourself to arbitrary pseudo-rituals like she describes will not make you a better, more interesting, more perceptive or thoughtful artist or human being. All it would do is conform you to the rather rigid and pleasureless idea Abramovic has about life. ANYONE would be better off renting a cabin on a beach with their time and money, or more to the point, having an adventure that no one else can structure for you. Nothing “immaterial” as much as this place: because it won’t exist? Or because its a scam? For shame Reptilian queen, for shame.
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-Contributed by Jarrett Earnest