Devotion to your craft is a lifelong pursuit. As an artist, you can measure your body of work through the numerous pieces that you have completed or your CV, but Serbian artist Marina Abramovic has a plan that goes well beyond that. More consumed with legacy and what her work, devotion, passion and time could give back to the world of art and generations to come, she commissioned OMA to convert a former theater in Hudson, New York into a long performance institute.
MAI / Marina Abramovic Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art will function not only as an entertainment venue but also as an education institution with lectures, workshops and training in the performing arts. â¨â¨Led by partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas and in collaboration with associate Jason Long, the project opened up the process of architecture to understanding and embracing this new typology in performing arts. By carefully studying the Abramovic Method, OMA was able to integrate the layered and inclusive experience of the performer, first level audience (active participation) and second level audience (passive participation) into its plan. This unique system opened up an array of challenges and possibilities regarding sight lines, elevation and the compartmentalization of its plan. The MAI will be a 24-hour long performance in activity and functionality. These long performances, spanning from several hours to a few days are also given a sense of mobility and flexibility whereby bespoke chairs on wheels can be moved to quiet areas when visitors fall asleep.
Abramovic's 40 years of experience have more than qualified her to call herself the 'grandmother of performance art' and an immense sense of responsibility accompanies that title. Abramovic's work explores the relationship between audience and performer, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. These elements result in highly charged performances that span sessions amounting to 736 hour performances. This relationship between artist and performer was central to the design process at OMA. The experience of Abramovic in arts and the experience of OMA shaping spaces in the arts, make this collaboration a must watch in the years to follow. The project is currently in the fundraising stage and is expected to open in late 2014.