To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, “Marina Abramovic” developed in 1974 one of her most challenging and best-known performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
Abramovic placed on a table dozens of objects that people were allowed to use in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her.
Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions. This tested how vulnerable and aggressive the human subject could be when hidden from social consequences.
By the end of the performance, her body was stripped, attacked, and devalued. Markings of aggression were apparent on the artist’s body. There were cuts on her neck made by audience members, and her clothes were cut off her body.
Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed and the artist remained passive and motionless, people began to act more aggressively. As they got sure that she will not respond to their acts in any way, some of them acted in a really aggressive way. They cut up her clothes and stuck rose thorns in some parts of her body.
One person aimed the gun at her head, and another took it away from him. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, she stood up and started walking towards the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.
This experience proved to Marina that the people we deal with on daily basis can commit horrible acts, if allowed to with impunity.
This makes us admit that authority need some of force to keep law and order. Freedom can not and should not be given without any constraints, deterrence, law and order.
Editor’s note: Marina has been through a real tough experience only to prove what is already commonly known. In each and every community, society, or country, there are some really evil individuals who are prepared to harm others, if left unchecked. One need not taste poison to learn that it is lethal.