Why Aren't You Present?

Why Aren't You Present?

"Realize the power of art that does not hang on the walls of galleries." Abramović
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In a world where media consumption is easily accessible and the art world can be navigated at your fingertips, not just in a gallery, how can artists capture our attention? Paintings can become mass produced prints and you can explore sculptures in 360 view finders online. An art medium that has maintained its one-of-a-kind in person novelty is the performance art piece. Filming the performance cannot do it justice, photographing it lends no hand, the only way to experience it is to be present.

“We always project into the future or reflect in the past but we are so little in the present.” – Marina Abramović

Watch a clip of Abramović's The Artist is Present.

But what’s the point of being a performance artist? Why should we engage with performance art if we can sit at home and keep up with the newest art and trends on Tumblr? What makes it worth it?

Think of an art form that serves to break down boundaries, toe lines of discomfort, and denounce the material. An art form that is unsellable, an experience that is simply that, an experience.

“The most revolutionary ideas are not sellable, but only mind-changing.” – Marina Abramović

Performance art has been on the rise since the early twentieth-century, sparked by movements such as Futurism and Dada. Performance gave artists the opportunity to forge an experience for the audience that left them convinced rather than working their words into a material form in hopes of persuasion. Artists embraced the mediums propensity toward more radical subject matter including political dissent and feminism as early as the 1960s.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle.

Performance art has shown more than any other medium that, “Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.” – Roy Adzak

Here are a few examples of powerful performance art that made us feel something.

  • Carolee Schneeman, Interior Scroll (1975)

After smearing her nude body in paint, Schneeman then pulled text inscribed paper from her vagina and read it aloud to the audience. The text was likely her response to a male critic’s critique of her work. Talk about baring it all and leaving the audience with more than a few questions.

  • Chris Burden, Shoot (1971)

Burden addresses humanity’s call to morality when he stood against a wall whilst his best friend shot him .22 rifle in his arm.

  • Yves Klein, The Anthropometries of the Blue Period (1958)

Actresses painted in blue served as Klein’s paintbrushes for his live audience painting. Klein’s work was inspired by the atomic explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki years prior.

  • Joseph Beuys, Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)

Beuys lived in a gallery for three days with a wild coyote and each day the Wall Street Journal was dropped off for the coyote to use the bathroom on.

  • Linda Montano, Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance (a.k.a. Rope Piece) (4 July 1983 - 3 July 1984)

An eight-foot piece of rope bound these two artists together for a year and although they were always in the same space, they didn’t touch the whole time they were bound.

  • Marni Kotak, The Birth of Baby X (2011)

Kotak built a birthing area at an art gallery where she had a live water birth overseen by a doula.

  • Casey Jenkins, Vagina Knitting (2013)

For 28 days Jenkins pushed wool up her vagina and pulled it out as she knit during the day.

  • Janine Antoni, Loving Care (1992)

Antoni coated her hair in black hair dye, using the soaked mass to paint live on the floor.

  • Mona Hatoum, Performance Still (1985)

Hatoum walked barefoot through the city for an hour while her Doc Martin boots tied to her ankles trailed behind her.

  • Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present (2010)

For 736 hours Abramović sat on display at MOMA, silently for 8 hours a day. Abramović broke down boundaries between life and art. “Communication starts when words are not present at all. I think we put so much emphasis on language; actually silence is so much more important.”


Cover Image Credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S7kxNmwDdMg/UUzkluhTvkI/AAAAAAAAF1Y/lY72bEOBQzk/s1600/23527_marina_abramovic_filtered.jpg

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Irish-American History Is Just As Important As Any Other Culture, You Can't Prove Me Wrong

I cherish being Irish and I will not let anyone let me feel bad for that.

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Depending on when you're reading this, Saint Patrick's day has either just passed or is around the corner. For me, Saint Patrick's day is tomorrow. I've been debating this article for some time now because I didn't know how it would be perceived. At this point, though, I feel it's important for me to get out. No, Irish people were never kept as slaves in America, and I will never be one to try and say they were. However, Irish people were treated tremendously awful in America. A lot of people tend to forget, or just try to erase entirely, the history of the Irish in America. So much so that I felt shameful for wanting to celebrate my heritage. Therefore, I want to bring to light the history that everyone brushes under the rug.

In 1845, a potato famine broke out across Ireland. This was a big deal because the Irish lived off, mainly, potatoes. They were cheap, easy to grow, and had tons of nutrients. So when the famine struck, many people either died of starvation or fled to America in seek of refuge. When the Irish arrived in America they were seen as a threat to the decency of America. People viewed them as drunk beasts, sinful savages, barbaric, violent, belligerent, stupid, and white apes. When the Irish would go to look for jobs, many times they found signs that read "Irish Need Not Apply," even when the job was hiring. Therefore, the Irish did the jobs no one wanted, and even jobs African slaves wouldn't do. The biggest example of this is when Irishmen built canals and drained swamps. They were sent to do these things because of the enormous amount of mosquitoes; in the swamp, they would get bit and ultimately die of malaria.

Also, during this time, Irish people were poor and therefore lived in the same neighborhoods as the free African Americans. A lot of the Irish people were friendly with their neighbors of color and even got into interracial relationships. Because the Irish lived in these neighborhoods they were seen as dirty and even a lot of people at this time put African Americans higher on the totem pole than Irish. One person during the time even said, "At least the black families keep their homes clean."

The main reason American's outlook on Irish people changed was that most Irishmen took up fighting for the Union in the Civil War. I make this argument, not because I think the Irish suffered more than African slaves. I don't say this in means of trying to erase the struggles of the African slaves. I do not think that any of our ancestors should have been treated the way they were. I mean to say that the Irish did in fact suffer. Irish people were treated wrongly on the basis of...nothing. Simply because my ancestors hailed from the shores of Eire, they were treated with malice. And I write this simply because I want people to remember. I want people to understand what happened.

On Saint Patrick's Day this year, next year, and for the many years to come, I want people to embrace the Irish culture. I want the folks of Irish heritage to not be ashamed of where they come from; to not be ashamed to share their culture the way I have for many years. I want everyone to have a beer, wear some green, eat a potato or two, and dance the Irish step; to celebrate the history of Irish people with a bit more understanding than before.

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