3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Marina Abramović
By Alice Bonasio
Marina Abramović is a Serbian artist known for her vanguard performance pieces that use her body both as subject and vehicle. Incorporating performance, sound, video, sculpture, and photography into her practice, she invites - even demands - audience participation, in her belief that an artist's function in a disturbed society is "to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.”
Over the past four decades, her work has pushed the boundaries of that relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. No wonder, then that she was drawn to the possibilities of incorporating immersive technology in her work.
Her VR experience "Rising" (2018) was a warning against the effects of climate change, and featured an avatar Abramović standing in a glass box slowly filling with water coming from melting sea ice. It first debuted in 2018 at Stockholm’s Brilliant Minds conference (an arm of Stockholm Symposium), as part of the launch of VR arts platform Acute, with Jeff Koons and Olafur Eliasson before going on show at the Venice Biennale.
“It is very different when you are surrounded by the image, you really feel it with VR because the brain believes what you see is true,” she said in an interview with Dazed Digital, adding that everyone who had gone through "Rising" felt an emotional experience at seeing the sea ice melt in front of their eyes and eventually drown her avatar. She hoped this would actually trigger concrete action for people: "You start thinking about what you can do on your own to change that,” she concluded.
Abramović i is now set to become the first artist to sell a Mixed Reality artwork at auction with “The Life” (2019) slotted to be sold by Christie's next year, so the future bodes well for more groundbreaking immersive work as she continues to explore immersive technologies as they develop.
Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech and their work. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio.