Everything is a performance

The Artist is Present Marina Abramovic MoMA - New York
The Artist is Present
Marina Abramovic
MoMA – New York

The Artist is Present, an exhibit in MoMA back in 2010. Artist Marian Abramović used her body as an object, a mirror that reflects her audiences. Art needs persistence in the process of making things or people into art, so in the exhibit she performed as a single piece of art with a long duration to show the timeless subject, a performance to connect with her audiences without words, to draw in contemplation and emotional interaction with help of an invisible bridge.


For many audiences they have hard time understanding the meaning of certain performance. They all have different background so it’s like one piece of art work, not everyone interprets it in the same way. Also in the process of delivery it might create confusion.

Performance might require audiences participation or without it. In The Artist is Present, it needs audiences to participate, to feel, to see reflection of what’s in them, and this process is absent with words. It’s the notion of art without description. People find different individual language to connect with the same piece of art, to exchange emotions.

It’s an invitation from Marian Abramović for releasing people from their inner self, to feel the concept of timelessness in the fast-paced lifestyle of New York. Along with the exhibit it contains many of her past art work. She is famous by her fearless and seductive art style.  Movie with the same title made in 2012 which recorded this event and her past and her sensation that bond with it.

Every act needs certain period of time to interpret, and it applies to everyone, but with different duration that each individual needs in order to fully comprehend.


In real life many of us use performance to express one’s desire in many different ways.  I’d use my crawling and sitting on the floor and making weird faces as protest while my families treated me unfairly when I was a child. “You don’t understand me” is what my performance spoke for itself; Also many managers use their active social performance and hierarchy suppressive performance to lowers to secure their position and power “yo gotta know how and when to act” is their mentality; Bankers and scammers use performance to manipulate and trick people into believing what their knowledge and opinion is worth million bucks. “Talking serves the needs” to someone who doesn’t understand the field; Many kids perform in order to get donation for their charity organization with the willing of helping their own kind.

 The reality:

We are all in some stages performing, with needs of participation from others or not. When we come back home, close the door by ourselves, there will be different faces with another self. We might release the ones that we try to hide in daily bases. Most of the people experience this similar act.  The difference is each person choosing different form to perform themselves in front of others.  In other words, they perform differently depends on their attitude on this kind of art.

Social media self:

First read this article about how to pretend to be happy in the internet, we know that we are all performers to some degree when we create our social media persona, or simply public relation presentation.

To gain followers, you blur your post by de-dramatizing certain emotions, and dramatizing the others. To gain popularity you need to know how to use words, emoji, phrase, hashtag, tag, quotes, image, pictures to speak for itself.

On social media, you try something different from your day-to-day life.  You add something and minus the others like putting a little bit different spices on your cooking, or maybe change the phrases, and revise it many times until it comes out nicely with flash words so that your “honest” and unique persona could stand out.  Then you earn the applauds.


It’s like a performance people choose to do. It might be different from who they are, but in this visual world people want different reality. Knowing their individual group of audiences people perform variedly to serve different needs. It’s still a performance, it’s still something you put on to come out a “perfect” world, a connection to interact with your audiences, in order to “publish” your “glory” performance as a announcement to your group of community.

Nonetheless they are not like art because their behaviors are the same like posting selfies, not in an unique way. They want to gain popularity and share their “performed” stories, but like Marian says, artist shouldn’t be similar to each other, to be like others.

It’s not good or bad here about performance. It’s just everyone is his or her own artist. Choose a way to put on a show is a way to express oneself in an form of art. Some are counterfeit artist while the other are not. Critical thinking needs to be present when audience look into it. After that performance is a way to conceal the reality and use another reality to express and achieve something you can’t do in person straightly, so we find a channel to compose the harmony between art and human.


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