Marina Abramović Doesn’t Want You to Shit: A Durational Performance Piece
Location: Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, Ontario
Cost: Free (Though citizen-artists are encouraged to consider a donation to the Marina Abramović Institute [MAI] according to their economic class. Citizen-artists are reminded that MAI relies on your suffering for its success.)
Instructions for the performance piece and artistic context:
Severely world-renowned performance artist, Marina Abramović, invites you to participate in this experimental, roving, extra-mental durational performance piece. The piece begins nightly at 9pm, when the publicly accessible restrooms in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park are closed and locked for the evening. This Participant Oriented Original Performance Program enrolls Situationally Hyperaware Institute Techniques to provide Theoretically Underwhelming Research DerivativeS that are invaluable to the future universalization of the Marina Abramović Method™.
Citizen-artists are encouraged to arrive in a state of urgency and are doubly encouraged not to take on an aspect of unrest or discomfort at any time during the performance; the stoic visage is crucial to the success of this piece. Citizen-artists should first make a calm and measured attempt to locate an open bathroom in the park. They are to undertake this activity whether or not they can infer that all the bathrooms are locked and unavailable for public use. As the citizen-artist circumambulates the grounds, they should note the impact of walking on their sense of urgency, again taking care to avoid appearances of unrest or discomfort. The purity of the performative state relies on the citizen-artist’s ability to suppress any appearance of need or humanity, emphasizing the extent to which self-conscious experience achieved through unnecessary withholding of bodily needs yields to an oblivion unmatched by even the most transcendent consumer experiences.
At this time, citizen-artists might employ the following mantras:
This is my opportunity to experience the threshold of production.
My body is the gallery, the art is inside me.
My body is glowing. Excresence forever.
After attempting to locate an available commode, the citizen-artist should approach the performer installed adjacent to the medical tent area, where there is a state of the art Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod designed specifically for the relief of performatively generated urgency. (The performer will be dressed as a security guard, their intimidating appearance is crucial to the coherence of the piece.) The citizen-artist is encouraged to calmly explain their urgency. The performer will respond according to a specific protocol designed by Ms. Abramović herself: “Go talk to the other security guard.”
At this time, the citizen-artist should walk in calm, measured steps toward the second installed performer. The citizen-artist should be careful to maintain eye contact with the second installed performer and should communicate their urgency and need only through intense eyegazing. The second installed performer will calmly explain that, “The Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod designed by MAI is intended only for the use of employees of Luminato and the MAI.” The citizen-artist is encouraged to draw on contextual information such as the public nature of the space, the locked public restrooms, the underutilized appearance of the Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod, and the universality of the urgency and need they experience in order to relay the immanence of their embodied experience of urgency to the second installed performer. The second installed performer will empathize but will emphatically deny the immanence of the citizen-artists urgency. The denial will come in the form of a humble apology, “I’m sorry.” The installed performers are not equipped to provide any further explanation, though the citizen-artist is encouraged to seek any and all clarifying details they require. The dissatisfying nature of clarifying information heightens the reality of the citizen-artists awareness of urgency.
Once the citizen-artist is satisfactorily rebuffed, they should take care to remain in the performance zone for as long as possible. The true benefits of the Marina Abramović Method begin to take hold only after the citizen-artist has been denied what they believe to be their fundamental human right of access to the Portable Performance Anxiety Relief Pod.
Rather than creating the performance herself, Abramović indoctrinates the citizen-artist, enabling them to craft their own experience by directing their attention inwardly and connecting with their true capacities for withholding. As the Creator conveys: “If you don’t have the education or willpower, than it doesn’t make any sense at all. You just give up. Your mind is a very tricky thing. Instead of doing what you’re doing in the performance, it just leaves. Do not evacuate your mind. Achieve this by withholding evacuation from your body.”
The performance ends with the citizen-artist seeks relief in any of the businesses or backyards surrounding the performance venue. Citizen-artists are then invited to share the fruits of their participation via social media using any the following ‘hashtags’ #POOPP (Participant Oriented Original Performance Program), #SHIT (Situationally Hyperaware Institute Techniques), #TURDS (Theoretically Underwhelming Research DerivativeS).