Deudora de la performance Imponderabilia
(Abramovich/Ulay, 1997), nueve mujeres, vestidas con los 9 primeros modelos Anti-dog, barran el paso en uno de los accesos del estadio, mientras este se vacia.
Though I never sat across from Abramovic, I did participate in one of her re-performed works, Imponderabilia
, where a naked man and woman face each other in a narrow doorway.
Here this ethnographic realism is not in the service of systemics (as in modernism), nor of extricating divergent contending discourses (as in post-modernism), but is crafted better to 'grasp the native's point of view', and to document the 'imponderabilia
of actual life' (Malinowski 1922), within incongruence.
In one photograph from the first version (executed at New York's On Stellar Rays gallery), Owens squeezes himself within a rightly bunched queue of participants, evoking the social space created by the naked frames of Marina Abramovic and Ulay during their performance of Imponderabilia
It focused on the most banal of details in the given culture from the perspective of the locals--"the imponderabilia
of actual life"--as Malinowski termed such details (18).
The latter identified the description of everyday practices ('the imponderabilia
of everyday life') as the third tier in his methodology.
During his subsequent return in 1997, the poet, to his great joy, came upon the hazel tree which in the poem addressed to it is endowed with the protective qualities of an absent house.36 The tree, known so intimately from his childhood, did not participate in the poet's "biography," which, as opposed to life, he calls "an invention." Only tangible things are endowed with real existence, the rest are imponderabilia
. The tree still has the potential to offer him support, for he may carve a cane out of one of its branches.
Which way did you face passing between the bodies in Imponderabilia
, and why?
(Here, amid the crowds of the MOMA atrium, audience members had a private experience only by becoming public--and by offering themselves up for potential privatization in the work's documentation.) Similarly, in the upstairs galleries, Imponderabilia
, 1977--which originally forced audiences to pass between a nude man and woman to enter the gallery space--was set off in a corner: The performers were in the same gallery but not in the same social space as audiences, who could just look if they wished before perusing the rest of the show--as viewers walking the space, as viewing minds able to be separated from bodies.
I saw an early performance of her Imponderabilia
at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1977, and, unlike now, where basically the experience is of having to choose between turning your back to a man or to a woman, what was gripping in that original performance, which of course she did with Ulay, was that not only did you feel you were invading private space--and were forced to be brutal about it--but you also felt you were interrupting a relationship, literally standing between two lovers.
(by Abramovic and Ulay), 1977, the viewer has to decide which nude body to face while wiggling sideways through the narrow doorway, making a quick calculus of gender identification and object choice.
More to the point, how could moma possibly restage the famous collaborative doorway piece Imponderabilia
, created in the late '70s by Abramovic and her partner Ulay (the German performance artist Uwe Laysiepen), who formed a seemingly singular and indivisible unit at the time?