Here’s the Best of Marina Abramović’s Reddit AMA

July 30, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

In addition to Marina Abramović’s Kickstarter created in hopes to fund the Marina Abramović Institute, the legendary performance artist has taken to the internet to answer questions from the public in the form of a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”). The inquiries of supporters and critics seem to cover a broad spectrum of interests, from the thoughtful to the utterly ridiculous.

“I have been a performance artist for 40 years of my life. I have done many works that stretch the limitations of the mind and body.

Look thisthisthisthis, and this to see examples.

My most recent work, “The Artist Is Present”, was at MoMA in New York. I sat for 736 hours across from anyone who wanted to sit with me. I am now doing a Kickstarter to create an institute for long durational performance. Join me on the adventure. Ask me anything.”

Here is a collection of some of the more notable questions (in no particular order), along with their respective answers, all for your viewing pleasure.

REDDIT: I am a new media artist who often works with social media and technology (examples: http://www.art404.com/world-of-whitecraft &http://www.art404.com/anon-vs-art & http://www.art404.com/node/43 ).

Your new institute seems to stress the absence of these technologies, is there a place for technology and social media in the Marina Abramovic Institute? Can the internet be spiritual? Can Twitter be a valid medium for performance art?”

MARINA: Yes, yes, yes, yes. If you just see one of the rewards on the Kickstarter from Pippin Barr, you can see that computers can be used as a tool for meditation tools. We will definitely have technology chamber in the institute because I think we can’t deny technology and its effects on humanity today. Again, context is everything.

REDDIT: I am reading your biography, and was lucky enough to see you speak at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center Last week (thank you!). One of the things I was touched by in the book were the occasions with Nesy and Ulay where you opted to forgo parenthood because of the life you wanted to pursue as an artist. I have chosen the same, and wonder if you have any thoughts on this very important choice looking back. Would you have had time for children? How you do feel about these decisions now?

MARINA: I never wanted to have children. I never had the biological clock running like other women. I always wanted to be an artist and I knew that I could not divide this energy into anything else. Looking back, I think it was the right decision.

REDDIT: Why did you choose performance art as your medium?

MARINA: It is very important for an artist to understand which is the right medium for him to work. I was very lucky that I found very early that performance art was the only way that I can give my message. It’s immediate, it’s time-based, it’s immaterial.

REDDIT: Do you take Jay-Z seriously?

MARINA: I do. He comes from really troubled background. He make his own way from the really difficult childhood and struggle to being rapper royalty and that’s not easy. I respect that.

REDDIT: What is your relationship with spirituality? Why is it a rule in your manifesto not to fall in love with another artist?

MARINA: 1) So spirituality is very important part of life and art. I am not talking about religions because they are institutions. I am talking about understanding yourself on a deeper level.

2) I have done this three times and each time I had the heart broke. This comes from my own personal experience. It’s very competitive situation, and it’s a very complicated story I cannot answer in a few words. It’s a matter of longer conversation.

REDDIT: What advice to do you have for the throng of young artists who idolize you?

MARINA: Before you start to be an artist, you have to be sure that this is what you want. And then you have to be ready to sacrifice everything and be ready to be alone. It’s not easy life, but when you succeed with your ideas, reward is wonderful. Maybe I became idol to the young people because I never comprised. I never see myself like idol, but I can’t prevent public to see me that way.


Dear Marina, thanks for this AMA.

1) What was that final hug on top of the Great Wall of China like? Can you describe it for us?

2) This question may be too personal, but why did you two decide to part ways at that time?

3) How is your heart?

MARINA: 1) One of the most painful moments of my life. I knew this was over, I new it was end of very important period of my life. I just remember I could not stop crying. 2) It’s very simple: Ulay was not faithful. He made the translator pregnant at the time and this was very difficult to handle. 3) I am not in love and I am free.

As far as we know, Marina hasn’t finished answering everyones questions yet, perhaps this is a new type of durational performance? So be sure to stick around for more of our timely updates.

[UPDATE] It looks as though Marina Abramović has finally decided to call it a day after answering tons of Reddit’s questions for nearly three hours.