Hello pop culture being incestuous with performance art. It has always happened, but now seen a lot more on the main media stage because of the status and fame of Marina Abramovic. It has hit all time record highs in terms of in-breeding and procreation and I dread to think what the child would look like sometimes. We all know about Abramovic’s involvement with Jay Z‘s all-day performance of Picasso Baby last month…now it’s time for her second collaboration with a musician, this time the one, the only, the seen by the mainstream as boundary-pushing (yet in real terms she isn’t at all when most of you, like me, deal with performance and live art on a daily basis) Lady Gaga. Who next? Justin Bieber?!
Here Gaga practices ‘The Abramovic Method’, a series of exercises designed to improve your self-awareness and heighten your mental and physical experience in the present moment, from standing in a lake with yellow cones over your eyes, to bending over in a woodland pulling in your stomach, to hugging a block of ice while naked. OK, so when this is done in less public-facing setting, intimate with the performer(s), as in meditative practice…as it should be…and as some who meditates, I see and instinctive feel the direct impact of the work, of the process, of the experience. Yet here, with Gaga, it seems to numb that intimacy, almost making fun of it. Solitary practice is a huge part of my life…and for many and most creatives…it’s part of the process (and sometimes battle) of the everyday, including that of the performer or performance artist. The serious nature of the latter seems to get consumed by media play in this instance…though it’s supposed to…it is after all one big publicity stunt in the build up to Gaga’s album release aptly named ARTPOP and also for the Kickstarter campaign created to raise funding for the first Marina Abramovic Institute which I must say I’m excited about. I want to see what the institute has to offer and also present to the world in the way of an understanding about performance and live art.
When I worked at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2008 I remember Abramovic was the only person that I simply could not speak to when I met her, and I met a great deal of high art people…I couldn’t even articulate a few words towards her…somewhat lost in her aura. Now I’d love to speak to her…more so about the development of performative practice in China. Maybe one day that conversation will happen. Until then, it’s (literally) all “gaga”.