Ever since I saw the documentary, The Artist is Present, I have been a fan of her work. Maybe not in the exact form but the essence of it, intrigues me. Since the film, a phrase that she’d said had remained with me “it is the public who complete the piece.” Being an interaction designer myself, the words rang in my head. Humans are key and yes, art could be inclusive instead of being the exclusive kind that only a few get. So when came the newsletter announcing her 512 Hours at the Serpentine, all else had to wait while I scrambled my way to be of the fortunate few (160 to be exact) who could go “empty” to her.
While I must say the experience wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined it to be, 512 Hours is undoubtedly less sensational than The Artist is Present. Divided into three chambers, it felt a bit like participatory meditation. Being an Indian myself, the concept of closing one’s eyes, blocking the external world out while working on one’s senses isn’t a new idea. Given that I was subjected to it public unsettled me. Is that what performance art is about? Being touched even in passing by Marina Abramovíc I am forced to acknowledge the power of someone who has spent her entire life in performance art.
It is a show I would highly recommend to anyone who’s up for not-the-conventional gallery visit.