Marina Abramovic and Ulay
Death Self, 1977
This performance consisted of the two artists seated in front of each other, connected at the mouth. They took in each other’s breaths until all of their available oxygen had been used up. The performance lasted only 17 minutes, resulting in both artists collapsing unconscious to the floor, having filled their lungs with carbon dioxide. This personal piece explored the idea of an individual’s ability to absorb the life of another person, exchanging and destroying it. (Wikipedia)
Well, that’s freakin’ disturbing.
Marina Abramovic is a motherfucking hero. A great many of her pieces had to do with women’s identity, particularly in relationship to men and the social differences of the genders. One of her most famous pieces involved her naked in a museum with the public allowed to touch and do anything to her: as you can guess, people became very sexually inappropriate and even violent with her in a short period of time; verifying the point of the piece, which is that women’s bodies are a social commodity most often treated with violence.
Off the top of my head, I’d say this piece, “Death Self,” represents the futility in making someone else the focal point of your life. Another person cannot sustain you. You must live, and breathe, for yourself.
All women should study the work of Marina Abramovic.