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KICKSTART MAI: Performance and education center, home to long durational work and the Abramovic Method
Performance and education center, home to immaterial works and the Abramovic Method
Performance and education center, home to immaterial works and the Abramovic Method
4,765 backers pledged $661,452 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Marina Abramovic Institute: The Founders

$661,452

4,765

(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.

Current interior of 620 Columbia St., Hudson, NY
Current interior of 620 Columbia St., Hudson, NY

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.

Marina with MAI Model © OMA
Marina with MAI Model © OMA

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, The House With the Ocean View (2002). Duration: 12 days. Photo: Steven P. Harris, Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery and Marina Abramovic Archives
Marina Abramovic, The House With the Ocean View (2002). Duration: 12 days. Photo: Steven P. Harris, Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery and Marina Abramovic Archives

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.

Digital MAI 8-bit Videogame by Pippin Barr
Digital MAI 8-bit Videogame by Pippin Barr

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 hereTo 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.

(Video directed by Noah Blumenson-Cook with music by Tristan Allen)

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. 

(Still from rice counting exercise animation created by Arianna Vairo)

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). 

The Magic of Mutual Gaze (2011), Photo: Garage Moscow
The Magic of Mutual Gaze (2011), Photo: Garage Moscow

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

(Video directed by Noah Blumenson-Cook with music by Tristan Allen)

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. 


Join our mailing list and add us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also stay tuned on our website at MAI-hudson.org.

Visit the #whyMAI tumblr at whyMAI.tumblr.com.

Email contact@mai-hudson.org with questions. Use subject line "Kickstarter" for all correspondences. 

Huffington Post - August 24th, 2013

An Interview with Marina Abramović: Art, Science and the Marina Abramović Institute

Bushwick Daily - August 9th, 2013

An Interview with Siena Oristaglio, MAI Head of Communications

Another Magazine - August 6th, 2013

Five reasons to Support The Marina Abramovic Institute Kickstarter

MoMA PS1 Expo 1 - July 14, 2013

Marina Talks about MAI At MoMA PS1 

The Awl - August 14, 2012


"Andy Warhol's Factory Without The Drugs": Marina Abramovic Debuts Her New Space In Hudson

The New York Times - May 6, 2012

Special Chairs and Lots of Time: Marina Abramovic Plans Her New Center

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 ReviewKreemart, Suzanne Dikker, Lauren Silbert, Alex Zafiris, Hector Meza, Ron Yoshida

IMAGESWolfgang 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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    [LIVE EVENT: THE EMBRACE] A hug from Marina Abramovic. Location to be determined.

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    [THE BASICS: DIGITAL MAI] Video game designer Pippin Barr has teamed up with Marina to create an original 8-bit video game that doubles as a virtual tour of the institute. Receive early access to digital MAI, as well as three Kickstarter-exclusive Abramovic Method games. PLUS a heartfelt thank you on the MAI website.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    [THE BASICS: MAI FOUNDER]
    Thank you for laying a virtual brick in the foundation of MAI. Your founder status will be commemorated on our official website. Sponsor 10 bricks ($100) and receive a digital COLUMN FOUNDER certificate. Sponsor 100 bricks ($1,000) and receive a digital WALL FOUNDER certificate. Sponsor 1,000 bricks ($10,000) and receive a digital CHAMBER FOUNDER certificate. PLUS Digital MAI reward.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    [THE BASICS: MAI 101 LECTURE AND DIGITAL BOOKLET] Marina Abramovic and Shohei Shigematsu (MAI architect, partner at OMA) will give a lecture about MAI via an exclusive live stream. You will receive access to this online event, as well as a digital version of the official MAI Booklet. PLUS MAI Founder and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    [THE EXERCISES / LIVE EVENT: SLOW MOTION WALK]
    Marina will teach the Abramovic Method SLOW MOTION WALK exercise via live stream. Receive exclusive access to this event. You, Marina, and the other backers at this level will then perform your exercise SIMULTANEOUSLY, creating a large public performance that occurs at the same time in different locations all over the world. You may document your performance and opt to include it in MAI digital archives. PLUS an audio recording of Marina teaching your exercise, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    [THE EXERCISES / LIVE EVENT: EYE GAZING] Marina will teach the Abramovic Method eye gazing exercise via an exclusive live stream. You will find a friend or stranger whose eyes you would like to gaze into. You, your partner, Marina, her partner, and the other backers at this level will then perform this exercise SIMULTANEOUSLY, creating a large public performance that occurs at the same time in different locations all over the world. You may document your performance and opt to include it in MAI digital archives. PLUS an audio recording of Marina teaching your exercise, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    [THE EXERCISES / LIVE EVENT: WATER DRINKING] Marina will teach the Abramovic Method WATER DRINKING exercise via live stream. Receive exclusive access to this event. You, Marina, and the other backers at this level will then perform your exercise SIMULTANEOUSLY, creating a large public performance that occurs at the same time in different locations all over the world. You may document your performance and opt to include it in MAI digital archives. PLUS an audio recording of Marina teaching your exercise, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    [THE DIGITAL: OMA / MAI DESIGN PACKAGE] This reward is for design and architecture buffs! OMA, led by world-renowned architects Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu, have created the design plan for MAI. This building is the first of its kind in the world, and you'll receive Kickstarter-exclusive MAI design materials, including OMA’s digital MAI Design Book. PLUS access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    [THE MATERIALS: Abramovic Method Exclusives] You will receive a Kickstarter-exclusive DVD that features Marina demonstrating Abramovic Method exercises via a series of short films, videogames, animation, rare archival images, and some surprises. PLUS OMA / MAI Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    [THE DIGITAL / THE MATERIALS: Abramovic Method Exclusives II] You will receive a set of never-before-seen video materials. This includes extracts of five of Marina's most difficult pieces, rare videos of Marina discussing these works, as well as the entire catalogue of Pippin Barr MAI games and a some very special surprises. PLUS OMA / MAI Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    [THE DIGITAL / THE MATERIALS: COMPLETE ABRAMOVIC METHOD EXCLUSIVES] You will receive both $100 level Abramovic Method Exclusives rewards in a special set signed by Marina. This includes a Kickstarter-exclusive DVD that features Marina demonstrating Abramovic Method exercises via a series of short films, video games, animation, and rare archival images. It also includes a set of never-before-seen video materials with extracts of five of Marina's most difficult pieces, rare videos of Marina discussing these works, the entire catalogue of Pippin Barr MAI games, and some very special surprises. PLUS OMA / MAI Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder, Digital MAI, and The Embrace rewards.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    [THE DIGITAL: MAI NEUROSCIENCE EXCLUSIVES] Marina has been working with neuroscientists to develop an interactive, crowdsourced installation called "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. On top of that, you'll receive a package of digital materials that includes: media clips of Marina’s brain activity from a re-staging of "The Artist Is Present," scans of journals handwritten by Marina and other participants during the experiment, and a few neuroscience-related surprises. PLUS Abramovic Method Exclusives, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (COLUMN FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    [LIVE EVENT: MAI AND OMA OFFICE TOUR, DESIGN MATERIALS, AND PRESENTATION]
    Take a tour of the MAI and OMA offices in New York City. You'll meet OMA and MAI staff, watch the MAI presentation in person, stand inside large-scale models of the institute created by OMA, and leave with exclusive MAI and OMA materials signed by Marina, Rem Koolhaas, and Shohei Shigematsu. Documentation of this tour will be included in MAI digital archives. PLUS OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (COLUMN FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    [THE EXERCISES: MUTUAL GAZE WITH MARINA ABRAMOVIC]
    Marina will perform the Abramovic Method eye gazing exercise with you via webcam. You may document this experience in any way you’d like and opt to include it in MAI digital archives. PLUS Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, Abramovic Method Exclusives, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (WALL FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    [THE MATERIALS: MARINA ABRAMOVIC CAREER INTERVIEW SET]
    You’ll receive a stunning DVD set of rare interviews and materials from the course of Marina's forty-year career, some of which have never been shown. This is truly a unique reward that gives an intimate look into Marina's development as an artist. It includes video, audio, and written interviews as well as a physical copy of the MAI Booklet signed by Marina. PLUS Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, Abramovic Method Exclusives, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (WALL FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    [THE WORKSHOP: DISCUSS YOUR PROJECT WITH MARINA ABRAMOVIC] Marina will workshop your project of any medium or discipline (art, science, technology, spirituality, etc.) with you via webcam. Your project can be in any stage of development, from idea to completion, and it may become eligible for future MAI programming and promotion by the institute. PLUS Abramovic Method Exclusives, Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (WALL FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    [LIVE EVENT: MOVIE NIGHT WITH MARINA ABRAMOVIC] Have a movie night with Marina at an intimate home theater in New York City, during which you will watch one of Marina's favorite movies. Afterwards, you, Marina, and other backers at this level will discuss this film while consuming ice cream and coffee. PLUS Complete Abramovic Method Exclusives, Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (WALL FOUNDER), Digital MAI reward, and The Embrace rewards.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    [LIVE EVENT: VISIT TO AN EVENT OF MARINA'S CHOICE AND LUNCH IN NEW YORK CITY]
    Marina will choose an event to attend with you and four other backers, after which you'll all have lunch in New York City. PLUS MAI and OMA office tour, Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, Abramovic Method Exclusives, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (CHAMBER FOUNDER), and Digital MAI rewards.

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    [THE EXERCISES / LIVE EVENT: NOTHING] Marina will do nothing. You will do nothing. You will not be publicly acknowledged.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    [LIVE EVENT / THE EXERCISES: SPIRIT COOKING WITH MARINA ABRAMOVIC] A dinner night with Marina during which she will teach you and other backers at this level how to cook a series of traditional soups, which you will all enjoy together. The night will end with the making of a golden ball, a recipe given to Marina in a Tibetan monastery. Marina will bring to this dinner a Spirit Cooking memento for each backer to keep. PLUS MAI and OMA office tour, Neuroscience Exclusives, OMA / MAI Digital Design Package, Complete Abramovic Method Exclusives, access to ALL $25 live stream exercises / live events, MAI 101 Lecture and Digital Booklet, MAI Founder (CHAMBER FOUNDER), Digital MAI rewards, and The Embrace rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)