Xiao Ma

The Artist is Still Present

December 16, 2020

A Virtual Social Experiment on Dec 25, 2020.


Marina Abramović. The Artist Is Present. 2010 - MoMA

In 2010 at MoMA, Abramović engaged in an extended performance called, The Artist Is Present. The work was inspired by her belief that stretching the length of a performance beyond expectations serves to alter our perception of time and foster a deeper engagement in the experience. Seated silently at a wooden table across from an empty chair, she waited as people took turns sitting in the chair and locking eyes with her. Over the course of nearly three months, for eight hours a day, she met the gaze of 1,000 strangers, many of whom were moved to tears.

This Experiment

Needless to say, 2020 is a year of isolation due to COVID. But people still manage to find new ways to connect and create. On this special Christmas day, whether you are with your loved ones, or alone like me, I invite you to participate in this virtual social experiment, where we look at each other in the eye, without words, over Zoom, for five minutes. I intend to this for four hours on the day and maybe longer depends on interest.

It is optional to opt-in to be recorded. If I have enough recordings, I will cut them together to a video as a piece called “The Artist is Still Present, Zoom”. Otherwise, I intend to write about the experiment only and by default you will remain anonymous.

The point is, that the same performance, done in isolation, will be different. The point is, that the same performance, when there is a different audience, when there is so much more else going on, will be different. So whatever comes out of this experiment, I will be grateful to learn, and to experience. I thank you in advance for indulging me.

Once confirmed I will send you time and Zoom invite.

Views are mine. On Twitter as @infoxiao