About this project
(Main and virtual tour videos directed by Milica Zec)
Marina Abramovic Institute is dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work, including that of performance art, dance, theater, film, music, opera, and other forms that may develop in the future. MAI will foster collaboration between art, science, technology, and spirituality, bringing these fields into conversation with long durational work. MAI will provide an educational space to host workshops, lectures, residencies, and research.
(Video directed and edited by Milica Zec)
If successful, this Kickstarter will cover the first phase of MAI's development: the design process. Your pledge will contribute to early MAI programming, office operations, and schematic designs of architectural elements, including building structure, lighting, acoustics, and AV. Given that MAI is the first of its kind, its early design phase demands an innovative approach. Leading this process are world-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), whose unique vision will help MAI to create new ways for audiences and performers to interact.
In total, $20 million is needed to complete renovations of the institute and begin operations. Marina has paid for phase zero of this development process. She purchased the building for $950,000 and donated it to the institute. She funded the budget of the MAI office for six months and commissioned the architectural concept. As of now, Marina has paid $1.5 million out of pocket towards the early stages of MAI.
A single person, no matter how successful or passionate, cannot single-handedly fund and sustain a cultural institution of this size. She hopes that an equally passionate public will join her in contributing to phase one.
We aim to create a global community of collaborators and want you to be part of it.
By inviting the broader public to contribute to our early development, Kickstarter helps to affirm and build the engaged community necessary for sustaining MAI into the future. We have designed rewards that encourage backers to engage with time-based and immaterial works. With your contribution, you become a founder of the institute not only financially, but also conceptually, by partaking in the very experiences we hope to create.
A primary aim of Kickstarter is also a major theme of Marina's forty-year career in performance art: to close the gap between artist and audience. Here, Marina and MAI can connect directly with the institute's future visitors, who can then share in the process of its creation.
If this initiative succeeds, backers will have helped to found both the largest cultural institution ever to get off the ground using Kickstarter, as well as the only project of its kind in the world.
Contributions to this project are 80% tax deductible due to MAI's non-profit 501(c)3 status.
Marina Abramovic is a New York-based, Serbian-born performance artist who began her career in the early 1970s. Her four decades of work explore the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. During her most recent performance, "The Artist Is Present" (2010), Marina sat motionless in MoMA’s atrium, offering her gaze to anyone willing to sit across from her. Over the course of three months, she stared into the eyes of more than 1,500 visitors.
(Video directed and edited by Milica Zec)
It was during this 736-hour performance that Marina became aware of the public’s immense desire to slow down and connect to themselves and to one another in a live setting. Long durational works facilitate this type of connection, but currently there is no space solely dedicated to them. MAI will be this space.
(Video directed and edited by Noah Blumenson-Cook)
MAI will be a platform for long durational work. A long durational work is any work (of performance art, dance, theater, film, music, opera, and others) whose performance exceeds six hours. The history of long durational works is varied and rich. Click here to read about some extraordinary works, including Christian Marclay's The Clock (24 hours), John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed-In (168 hours), John Cage's Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow aS Possible) (639 years), Michael Siffre's Biological Clock Experiments (5670 hours), Mata Amritanandamayi's hugs (32 million hugged), and Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance series (1978-1999).
In order to fulfill its mission, MAI will:
- Invite artists to propose, present, and premiere long durational works of performance art, dance, theater, film, music, opera, and more.
- Provide space and other resources for art and science residencies to develop new and collaborative long durational projects.
- Host lectures, workshops, community outreach initiatives, public programs, and continuing education classes, as well as an extended library of time-based and immaterial works.
- Invite visitors to participate in the Abramovic Method, which will prepare them to experience long durational work.
(Drawing by Cassandra Long)
Marina will personally thank all those who contribute to the creation of MAI by hugging every backer of this Kickstarter at a live event called THE EMBRACE. This event will be held in two undisclosed locations, one in New York City and one in Europe, with exact dates and times to be announced. MAI Founders who are unable to attend these events will be offered a special reward in lieu of a hug from Marina.
Pippin Barr is a video game designer who created the viral "The Artist Is Present" 8-bit video game. He’s teamed up with us to create a game that serves as a digital tour of the institute as well as an entertaining and challenging experience. At this level, you'll receive early access to the digital institute, as well as three Abramovic Method games: rice counting exercise, stepping on grass, and complaining to a tree. To read a review of these games from Dirty Mag, click here. To play the entrance to digital MAI, click here!
(Drawing by Cassandra Long)
Marina will teach the Abramovic Method water drinking exercise via exclusive live stream. You, Marina, and the other backers at this level will then perform this exercise simultaneously. You may document your performance in any way you choose and opt to include this documentation in MAI digital archives! The goal of this reward is to create a large performance of slow, conscious water drinking that encourages both participants and passersby to slow down and exist more fully in the present.
The Abramovic Method trains audience members with the skills to observe and perform long durational works. Through a series of exercises, participants are encouraged to become more aware of their mental and physical experiences in the current moment, increasing ability to feel their own presence and make empathic connection to others. These exercises come from a belief that everyone can benefit from being more present with themselves and others. Over the course of Marina's career, she has dedicated herself to creating and experimenting with these exercises, and institute is an environment where others can experiment as well.
We have partnered with a number of artists and collaborators to create a beautiful Kickstarter-exclusive DVD that includes the following: a series of short films of Marina demonstrating the exercises in nature, an animation of the rice counting exercise, five Abramovic Method games: rice counting exercise, stepping on grass, complaining to a tree, looking at the colors, and stopping the anger (created by Pippin Barr), rare workshop images from the archives, and a few special surprises. To learn more about the Abramovic Method, click here (be sure to click the left and right arrows for more).
Marina has been working with neuroscientists to develop interactive crowdsourced neuroscience installations, such as Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze (2011), a re-staging of "The Artist Is Present" (2010) with Suzanne Dikker, Matthias Oostrik, and participants of Watermill The Art & Science: Insights into Consciousness Workshop.
In the video above, you can watch Marina ride the compatibility racer: a cart controlled by the brainwaves of two drivers! If you back at this level, you’ll receive pre-registration for a ride in the compatibility racer (a project by Lauren Silbert, Jennifer Silbert, Suzanne Dikker, Matthias Oostrik, and Oliver Hess). On top of that, you'll receive a package of digital materials that includes: long media clips of Marina’s brain activity while performing in Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze (by Suzanne Dikker and Matthias Oostrik), scans of journals handwritten by Marina and other participants during the experiment, and a few neuroscience-related surprises!
Note: The compatibility racer is currently a traveling installation. This reward pre-registers you for a ride in the compatibility racer at an as-yet undetermined location. Upon the hopeful opening of MAI, the racer will be installed in the institute's science chamber in Hudson, New York.
Visit the #whyMAI tumblr at whyMAI.tumblr.com.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Use subject line "Kickstarter" for all correspondences.
Huffington Post - August 24th, 2013
Bushwick Daily - August 9th, 2013
Another Magazine - August 6th, 2013
MoMA PS1 Expo 1 - July 14, 2013
The Awl - August 14, 2012
The New York Times - May 6, 2012
MAIN VIDEO: Milica Zec [Director, Editor, Producer], Michael Fuchs [Director of Photography], Brian Murphy [Camera Assistant & Location Sound], Aleksandar Protic [Sound Design & Music Supervision], Juan Salvo [Colorist], Uros Perisic [Motion Graphics], Audio Licence [Music]. Video equipment courtesy of Hello World Communications
KICKSTARTER: Siena Oristaglio [Creator and Head of Campaign], Milica Zec [Lead Campaign Videos Creator and Director], Noah Blumenson-Cook [Director, Video Materials], Christiana Cefalu [Writing], Maria Sprowls [Press Assistance], Leah Aron [Development Assistance], Billy Zhao [Programming Assistance], Dolan Morgan [Writing], Tom Oristaglio [Writing], Thomas Berloffa [Banners and Graphics], Pippin Barr [Digital MAI], Emilyn Brodsky [Writing, Music], Cassandra Long [Illustrations], Tristan Allen [Music]
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Becca Rosenthal [AKA Becca Darling / The Bee Charmer], Paula Garcia, Andrea Bredbeck, Yuri Bredbeck, and the Bredbeck Family, The Atlas Review, Kreemart, Suzanne Dikker, Lauren Silbert, Alex Zafiris, Hector Meza, Ron Yoshida
IMAGES: Wolfgang Morell [Marina Abramovic, Dragon Heads], Steven P. Harris [House with the Ocean View, courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery], Fabrizio Vetieri and Laura Ferrari [The Abramovic Method at PAC, ©24 ORE Cultura S.r.l], Donatelli Sbarra [Rhythm 0, Courtesy the Marina Abramovic Archives], Marco Anelli [images from "The Artist Is Present," courtesy Marina Abramovic Archives], Garage for Contemporary Culture, Moscow [Neuroscience Experiment I: Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze (2011), Thomas Berloffa [Banners and Graphics], Pippin Barr [Digital MAI Screenshot], Arianna Vairo [Animation Screenshot], Noah Blumenson-Cook [Short Nature Film Screenshot]
NOTES: Marina Abramovic is fine with spelling her last name with or without the accented "c," although in her native Serbian, the "c" is accented. The contents of MAI digital archives are subject to the discretion of Marina and MAI.
Risks and challenges
MAI’s biggest challenge will be raising the remainder of the funds needed to open our doors in Hudson. The traveling MAI Prototype and one-off events are no substitute for having a fully operational arts center. We face losing momentum for the project during the two years it will take to renovate and build the institute. We risk losing your patience while we wait to move into our home, but the mission is alive and active.
To keep MAI’s heart beating while the architects, contractors, and construction crews work toward completing the building, there are plans for community outreach projects in Hudson, public long durational performances such as marathon readings and forums for supporters and critics alike to discuss the project as it evolves. Your feedback is more valuable than you know. Ongoing dialogue is a crucial part of the development of MAI.
Well before construction is complete, Marina and a distinguished curatorial team will use their expertise to shape the highest quality of exhibition and program offerings. We hope to invite artists across disciplines present to and premiere long durational works. We have already reached out or plan to reach out to a variety of artists, including but not limited to Damien Jalet, Sidi Larbi, Lynsey Peisinger, Rebecca Davis, Paula Garcia, Ragnar Kjartansson, Leandro Erlich, Maria Jose Arjona, Davide Balliano, Nico Vascellari, and Lotte and Till Steinbrenner. MAI will also establish educational partnerships to expand the institute’s potential.
With experimental art comes yet unknown logistical restrictions. As plans for the building are in development, MAI and OMA are working closely to design and build a facility that will establish a number of flexible layouts for performance and rehearsal spaces, giving artists the greatest possible freedom to produce groundbreaking new work.
MAI is located in a small town, which limits access, and not everyone who wants to visit the institute will be able to. Paying for a train ticket, a flight if necessary, even the admission fee alone, may be unfeasible for some. To enable the most visitors to experience MAI firsthand, we aim to develop programs such as the following:
- A membership program with discounts and exclusive offers.
- Designated hours when MAI will not charge admission.
- Working with local businesses and partnering with well-established institutions to implement programs which offset the cost of travel to and within Hudson.
- Sponsoring visitors based on need and merit through grants and stipends whenever possible.
MAI, a very small team, is also in the midst of a flurry of activity. Seeking government and foundation support, planning quality programming and exhibitions that are in line with our mission, expanding our audience, specifically youth audiences and those with less exposure to performance art, are just a few of our ongoing initiatives.
We ask for your patience while we personally handle reward fulfillment and deeply appreciate your support of for this project. Thank you for joining Marina and MAI as we begin building this unprecedented institution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
For individuals who want to give larger amounts, you may give through the MAI website, or contact email@example.com. We have developed special programs for larger donors that we can describe to you in detail.
Crystals are routinely used across art, science, technology and spirituality -- the very fields MAI hopes to bring into conversation. Not only are they objects of metaphysical fascination, crystals are also pivotal in everyday technologies like watches, printers and computers. A crystal’s unique lattice-work structure reflects numerous touchstones of art and aesthetics, not least among them being long durationality. Along with crystals, a diverse array of items and ideas with technological, artistic, spiritual, and scientific overlaps will be present in programs at the institute, all in the spirit of fostering interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration.
Labcoats instantly invoke a spirit of experimentation, serve to mute environmental distractions, and encourage participants to focus on their own unique internal experience (as opposed to external representations of self). At MAI, labcoats are not intended to repress participants’ individuality, but rather to create a shared experience, bolstering empathic connection between participants. By acting as both a blank slate and common experience, MAI’s labcoats support an audience’s ability to absorb long durational works. Also, they’re kind of fun.
Ideally, the institute would be a free public space, for use by all. While there may be an admission cost, MAI aims to seek support from national, state, regional, city, and private grants to make low-cost or free admission a possibility. Given that MAI’s ability to do so depend on funding, please pledge what you can to this project if it is within your means.
OMA is a leading international office practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. Rem Koolhaas founded OMA in 1975 after graduating from the Architectural Association in London. Under the direction of partner Shohei Shigematsu, the New York office is developing the design of Marina Abramovic Institute.
MAI is a new type of multidisciplinary center that requires an innovative design to fulfill its function. Abramovic deeply respects Rem Koolhaas’ approach to architecture and, based on his previous works, she knew OMA would be able to translate this unique project into a physical space.
Contributions to this project must be made payable to Marina Abramovic Institute and are up to 80% tax deductible.
Since an important part of the MAI’s mission is to proliferate the experience and participation with long durational work to as wide a group as possible, one might ask the question why Hudson, New York as opposed to one of the many metropolitan cultural centers of the world?
The answer is that MAI’s mission of exploration is defined by an appreciation of time and space that is inherently obstructed by the pace and nature of the city. Hudson (where America’s first school of art was established) has a rich history of slow and measured appreciation for nature and the arts, and thus serves as a perfect environment for the institute.
Unlike more traditional art forms of painting and sculpture, performance art does not focus on physical objects created by an artist. Instead, performance art is best described as an artistic medium involving four basic elements: time, space, the performer’s body, and the relationship between performer and audience.
Performance art is the melding of time-based, experiential aspects of performance with the philosophical, personal, spiritual, and social concerns of contemporary and modern art.
MAI will serve as an educational resource for all members of the Hudson Valley community. MAI plans to form partnerships with local organizations and schools to develop programming that builds bridges between various segments of the Hudson Valley community. MAI will serve as an artistic and intellectual space for people with diverse interests and backgrounds to engage with long durational performance.
The presence of the institute in Hudson will also draw an international audience to the area, boosting the local economy and creating jobs.
The EEAC Program fosters interaction, dialogue, discussion, collaboration between three “generations” of thinkers: well-established individuals, emerging individuals, and aspiring individuals across a variety of fields. These fields include but are not limited to art, science, technology, and spirituality. An example: Rem Koolhaas (a world class architect), Dolan Morgan (an emerging writer in the Brooklyn literary scene), and Jess Walker (an aspiring young scientist at a Hudson high school) are invited to host a workshop together, bringing insight from their disparate disciplines in an effort to foster interdisciplinary innovation.
MAI will build a platform for international collaborations between individuals across a variety of disciplines. As the only international institute whose focus is the preservation and staging of long durational works, it will serve as a home for anyone wishing to participate in the exploration of long durational performance.
MAI hopes to open in 2015, following the completion of renovations to its location at 620 Columbia Street in Hudson, New York.
Other than backing this Kickstarter and sharing it with friends, how else can I help MAI to get off the ground?
Share content. MAI is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We host discussions, send monthly email newsletters, and will soon launch a full-featured blog. Our social media sites are not only places to participate in discussions and keep up with MAI news, but also to share that information with your own networks. Please help us create a strong online community of supporters.
Talk to us. MAI is always open to thoughtful feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. We consider all comments, positive and negative, as long as they are constructive. They have and will continue to play a big role in the development of the institute.
Host an event on behalf of MAI, such as a fundraiser or a marathon reading, to support and raise awareness about the institute. If you would like to host an event or learn more about MAI marathon readings, please send inquiries to email@example.com with subject line “HOST.”
Create a #whyMAI (see below for more information)
An important part of MAI‘s mission is to engage the general public in our process and encourage communication across disciplines. In that spirit, we'd like to invite individuals across all backgrounds to tell us their personal vision for the institute and why they want MAI to exist or how they would use it. This statement, called the "why MAI" can be expressed in various forms: a tweet (use hashtag #whyMAI), a piece of visual art posted online, an instagram video, or a paragraph of up to 300 words posted to social media.
To create your own #whyMAI, please include:
• Your name and age
• Where you're from and what you do
• Your personal statement
• The hashtag #whyMAI
When done, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “#whyMAI” and a link to your post.
• An example, posted to Twitter: john / 14 / boston / dancer / never seen a long durational dance performance but i could probably watch dance forever #whyMAI
• An example, posted on Tumblr: My name is Maria Smith, I am 30 years old, I live in Akron, Ohio, and I am an architect. I am excited for MAI because I look forward to seeing how Rem Koolhaas translates the unique challenge of creating a space for the preservation of immaterial works into architectural form. I also lead a very hectic life (two kids, two dogs) and would take a visit to the institute as an opportunity to slow down and connect with myself. #whyMAI
Fields of knowledge have not always been as disconnected as they are today. Throughout history, there have been numerous productive overlaps in bodies of knowledge: prominent mathematicians worked out calculations to serve ritual requirements of spiritual centers, philosophers explored scientific avenues to revitalize the arts. MAI is an attempt to draw divergent fields back into one physical location, in order to catalyze interdisciplinary innovation. It will also bring long durational performance into these collaborations as a way to continuously reinvigorate the art form.
In this vein, MAI hopes that this campaign will feed Kickstarter's thriving ecosystem while actively enacting the MAI mission of interdisciplinary collaboration. If this is your first time on Kickstarter, please explore, visit, and participate in other projects. If you back a project that you feel relates to the MAI mission or come across an initiative that you think would be a good partner for MAI, please e-mail email@example.com with subject line "KICKSTARTER GROK"
An important part of MAI’s function will be to create an archive of long durational works, but even this cannot capture the immediacy of experiencing them live. One goes to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, not a photograph of the Mona Lisa. MAI proposes the solution to the paradox of preserving this ephemeral form is for people to perform and experience long durational works in person. There is no public art institution or venue in the world dedicated to providing an enduring home for long durational performances: MAI will be the first of its kind.
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