Marina Abramović Kickstarting OMA’s Experimental Performance Center in Upstate New York

East, Newsletter
Friday, August 9, 2013
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In OMA’s design, the current facade of the Hudson building will be integrated into the proposed Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. (Courtesy OMA)

The clock is currently ticking on fundraising for Marina Abramović’s proposed Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI), a performance art center designed by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA. The facility is planned to be set in a former theater in Hudson, New York. On July 26th, the artist launched a $600 thousand Kickstarter campaign to fund the institute she hopes will develop new forms of the long durational—six hours or more—performance art she is famous for.

Abramović has teamed with OMA architects Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas to gut the current building and design a multi-level, multi-room performance hall in which visitors will stay for a minimum of six hours (as signed by contract upon entrance). With the Kickstarter campaign fundraising goal, which must be fulfilled by August 25th, the team will transform the building’s state of disrepair into a conceptualized laboratory: a performance and education space where visitors will wear white lab coats and participate in the Marina Abramović Method of durational performance art.

The artist means for MAI to become a center of interaction across topics, “foster[ing] collaborations between art, science, technology, and spirituality, bringing those fields into conversation” and her designing architects have taken the mission to heart. For the New York Times Art Beat last year, Shigematsu said he and Koolhaas planned on “creating a one-of-a-kind typology” for MAI’s less than typical theater program. In the Abramović Method, participants become the art they simultaneously view. The current OMA architectural models their interpretation of Abramović’s unique vision. OMA plans specifically-purposed rooms surrounding the central performance space, which will be visible throughout the facility.

Abramović believes the institute fills a current void in the art world as a place for people to satisfy their “immense desire to slow down and connect to themselves and to one another in a live setting.” She hopes that MAI will show the work of several long durational performance artists across a variety of genres.

Architectural Model Showing Connecting Rooms Overlooking Central Performance Space. (Courtesy OMA)

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