How often do you choose to meditate in the present moment? Marina Ambramovic chose to sit immobile and silent in the Museum of Modern Art’s atrium for a 736 hour and 30-minute period. The installation ran from March 14 to May 31, 2010. Titled ‘The Artist is Present’, spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite of her and asked not to touch or speak to the artist.
This admission of boundary, as simple as they may be, forces both artist and admirer to sit with, in and within their individual realities. What causes us to reach peace or purgatory? When did we go seeking either? For what, exactly? All this calls into question, how are we and who are we, when there is no place to run or hide.
What do you do when your truth has nowhere to be, but with you? In society, we have created this “natural” fear of the other sides of our personal truths. No thing blooms year-round, the same sentiment is true for your truth. This fear is made “natural”, so as to ask to outsource counsel and then determine if the advice of the counsel is appropriate or not. What encourages you to second-guess your intuition? Is your intuition active? Have you learned how to work it? When and how are you choosing to listen to it?
I won’t abuse the function and flexibility of Time and say, by then it’s too late to appreciate what your truth is and the potential of what it offers you. This approach is not wrong, nothing ever is – just lengthy. What you inherit along the way in search of answers, distances you from the understanding within you. Thankfully, no distance is too great to reach home.
Consider the realities of the artist and the admirer. The artist has manufactured this stillness and is spectating its effects. The artist has a purpose. When you impose your own limits, how do you resist them? Why are you even limiting yourself? Can your limitations serve you? Your purpose? The admirer can not relieve their truth, can not offer up their regurgitation, no matter how weak or persistent it is. They are left with more choices than the artist. The artist made a commitment, an uncompromising one.
To be exposed to all of this intangible stimuli, where is the accessibility to release and relief? Most importantly, does the possibility of it exist? What are you looking at when you see people? What do you go looking for? How do you receive what you find or what finds you?
Ambramovic mentions the MOMA exhibition is all about performance, in relation to presence. One could conclude that life is created from our will to act or not to act as well as this reaction being the only record. The outward expression, what is sensed – seen, heard, tasted, touched, felt – is the dominant expression of our lives. With ‘The Artist is Present’, Marina Ambramovic grants the inner expressions room to breathe, to exist without disregard.
Is presence ever a choice? Acknowledgement might be.
Watch the 2012 documentary here.