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In a divided country, how can art make us SEE one another? or On the Art of Connecting

Marina distills theatre. Theatre becomes performance. Performance becomes sitting across from someone — and with someone — in silence. (You can work from the other way around too. Sitting across from someone becomes performance. Performance becomes theatre. It’s a frame. You can frame it how you wish to frame it. It’s your own experience.)

We connect through entry points. Through matter we can all touch or “touch”.

I imagine a metaphysical tangible circle, like a circular table, or a ball, or an empty circle, or a floating ring made of gold or string, in the middle of a group of individuals. You can imagine it how you wish to imagine it. It’s your own experience.

Every individual places her or his index finger onto the circle, or its edges. Both count.

In this way they are connected through the circle. The circle is the thing through which they share something. It is the thing that allows for the interchange, the give and take, the reciprocity, the trade, the exchange.

The circle is going out for a drink with friends, it’s the dinner at the dinner party, it’s the television or the movie, it’s the football game, the NY Times article, the book at the book club, the meme, twitter, the early morning hike with friends…

The circle is theatre. The circle is the performance, the container of the performance, the conventions, all the things that create the theatre experience. The experience is the circle. The audience (although the word “audience” from the Latin audire ‘hear’ does not accurately represent the ontology of the audience, who both hears, or listens, and gives as much as those who give on stage.) member places her or his index finger on the circle the moment they step into the theatrical space (however the theatre-experience-maker defines it). Those on stage chose to engage the moment they auditioned for the role. They’ve had their index finger on the circle for a while; now the audience members must put their index fingers on the circle for the interchange to start. Once both parties have engaged there can be give and take; reciprocity.

Marina Abramovic takes it to the next leveL. / . In ‘The Artist is Present’ there is n_ circle. There is no drink, no dinner, no televisi_n, no m_vie, no f__tball game, no NY Times article, no b__k at the b__k club, no meme, no twitter, no early m_rning hike with friends. The circle is g_one and there’s only this:

Bringing two index fingers to touch and facing one another. Facing away from each other, but maintaining interaction through the binding of hair. And then simply sitting across from another person and interacting with nothing but the eyes. SCARY. SO SO SCARY. There’s only you and the other person. Not even words to hide behind.

Marina strips the circle from the art of connecting and what happens is proFOUND. Maybe a ‘The Artist is Present’ revival is what this divided country needs more than ever.


About gbfontenele

Director and dramaturg in training. Free spirit and questioner from the beginning.

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