Yesterday, Marina Abramović and OMA announced the creation of the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI) under the performance dome at MoMA’s PS 1 in Long Island City. Abramović will team with the architects to create an art, education and performance venue that will not only focus on Abramović’s performance methods, but, interestingly, on educating the public with regards to viewing and appreciating long duration performances.
Perhaps, Abramović’s name sounds familiar, and rightly so. She has wildly been hailed as one of the most progressive and devoted long-duration performers; one of her most recent New York performances took place at the MoMA where she sat completely silent, just starring at visitors for the museum’s entire opening hours. And, now, with this Institute, Abramović will be able to teach her ways to aspiring performers, and more viewers will be able to experience and appreciate her performance methods. Abramović commented, “The Institute’s aim is to protect and preserve the intellectual and spiritual legacy of performance art from the 1970′s into the future, and will serve as an homage to time-based and immaterial art.”
In 2007, Abramović purchased a building about two hours north of Manhattan which had formerly been a theater, a tennis court, then an antiques warehouse and market place. The artist imagines the Institute to function as a kind of laboratory for exploring time-based and immaterial art forms, including performance, dance, theater, film, video, opera, and music.
OMA is the perfect firm to team with Abramović , as the two can challenge the idea of perception and experience on both a psychological and spatial level. The building will expose all visitors as performers, as the interconnectedness of the spaces will allow one to always be viewing someone else.
Plus, the Institute will include some great individual elements, such as the long-viewing chairs OMA has designed chairs specifically for viewing such performances. OMA New York Director and Partner Shohei Shigematsu called the chairs, “part massage chair and part wheelchair” – meaning, that if one falls asleep, a member from the institute will roll the viewer out of the performance venue and into a small sleeping area.
The Institute is believed to be complete in 2014, and the funding for the $20 million project will largely be raised by the artist. We will be following the progress of this exciting project to share more of the building’s quirky attributes, which will no doubt result in the perfect blend of performance art and dynamic architecture.
For more information, check out #whyMAI.