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In 1974, performance artist Marina Abramovic, who was not yet well-known at the time, performed one of the most extraordinary, most debated, and maybe most horrifying performances in the world of performing arts. In this show named Rhythm 0, what she did was very simple: Staying steady.

Marina Abramovic on performing "Rhythm 0" (1974) - YouTube
Pic: Marina Channel

Marina Put Many Things

She also put many different things and items on a table, left to the option of those who arrived to see the show. At this table, there were all types of random items ranging from roses to chocolate brownies, chains to knives. There was even a bullet and pistol on the table. So the guests had the opportunity to select between good and bad. All the visitors could use these items as they liked. During the whole show, the woman would be as inactive as a dead object. She tried to impose herself as a living work of art. However, she was not aware that this six-hour performance session would turn into one of the terrible days of her life. At first, the audience was very helpful and well-intentioned. Some gave roses to the hands of the lifeless woman, some fed her with cake, and some rubbed her hair or touched her hand. However, as time passed and the performance extended, the color of the work started to change.

Marine Got Slapped

Glory in Pain -- Is it Justified?
Pic: Indian Folk

First, one of the observers slapped her in the face with a soft slap. Understanding that Abramovic didn’t respond, some people in the community began to hit the woman harder. People who had just shaken her hand and handed her roses started to show a brutal tendency when they knew that woman was accessible. But the events were not restricted to this. A man in public took the gun and set it on the woman’s forehead. Then he took it to the woman’s hand in a way that would point to her neck. Some of them started writing on the woman’s forehead with pens. After that, the harassment started. Some were crushing the young woman, some were bussing her or spitting on her, at the end, the public cut her clothes with scissors, leaving her nude. But they were not calmed. One person in the public drew the woman’s stomach with a knife and it encouraged others. They shed her blood several times.

There were even bloodsuckers. Then they took the woman like a dummy. A man also attempted to go further with the woman they had frequently harassed by laying her on the table! But he was stopped. Some people in the public were feeling frightened but they did nothing while others began to take pictures of the woman, and put them in her hands. In the meantime, the woman was in tears, but the public insisted on assessing her as an object. Then a woman from the public rubbed her tears of her and hugged her. Then the disturbed group eventually intervened. Some of them cleaned the artist’s injuries, while others covered her. They extended to her smoke to calm her down.

Social Experiment

This exhibition, which turned out to be more of a social experiment than performance art, expressed how the majority can easily disclose evil within themselves with each other’s motive, it also showed the importance of not being able to demonstrate courage and solidarity or being late in this respect. After 6 hours, when the performance was over, when Abramovic started to walk again, the crowd ran away from there with shock as if they have faced a horrible person. They were horrified to meet the person whom they had not stopped to do evil when she has taken a personal form again. Moral: As one girl did the right thing, it changed others. So don’t believe, “what could occur from my simple action?”

Source: Quora – Ayse T. Dogu

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