‘We need fewer artists and more heroes’

When I was filming The hero in 2001, I mourned the loss of my father. Vojo was a national hero, a soldier who fought the Nazis along with Yugoslav partisans, communists led by Tito. He was a very handsome man, with a strong, stern face and a thick, powerful-looking head of hair. In pictures he from the war is almost always riding a white horse. He fought with a group of guerrillas who made lightning strikes on the Germans. It took impossible courage. Many of his friends were killed next to him.

Sa The hero, I sat on a white horse, as my father often did, and held a large white flag flashing in the wind. Why a white flag? My father never gave up on anything. But he could surprise me. I remember, in 1968, as students in Yugoslavia protested against the government to assert freedom and rights, he produced a heroism that impressed me not only with its courage but with its unity and compassion. Handsome in his raincoat and tie, his hair aristocratic, he stood in the middle of Marx and Engels Square and gave a passionate speech denying his membership in the Communist Party and attacking the “Red Bourgeoisie” of Yugoslavia, which controls the government. At the climax of his prayer he tossed his party membership card to the crowd — an amazing gesture. Everyone applauded. I am so proud of him.

In 2001, Vojo died, and white was also the color of death. Ultimately, we must all give up on change.

Marina Abramović’s parents, Danica and Vojo Abramović in 1945 Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives

Now, the work I did in honor of my father has new life. A work I originally recorded in 2001 has now been shown every night for three months at London’s Piccadilly Lights and other important screens in Seoul, Milan, Berlin, Dublin, Tokyo and New York, as part of my Circa 2022 that commission. It appears along with a new narrative I wrote to echo the Manifesto of the Artist’s Life I finished in 2011, call The Manifesto of Heroes.

This change — from writing a manifesto for artists to one for heroes — has taken place now, because courage and heroism are the qualities demanded by the time in which we live. Right now, we are in a strange moment: we are destroying our planet and seeing wars taking place around the world. What can an actor do? Art will not save us. Now, I’m telling people that we need to be adaptable. Right now, we need heroes; fewer actors but more heroes.

Our planet needs undamaged heroes with morality, who contain courage and bring about real change. Every day is a shaky, uncertain, constantly changing landscape. In the Circa network of screens, we have this white horse. This white flag. This beautiful land. We need heroes who can bring new light to enlighten us. Heroes who can inspire us to be better, and work together, not against each other. Heroes care.

Now, one hero could be Txai Surui, a young Indigenous woman climate activist who spoke at the Cop26 climate conference, who challenged world leaders to take strong action and reminded us that “it is always necessary to believe that the dream is possible. ” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova may have raised $ 6.7m in the early days after Russia’s invasion to support Ukraine, or it could have been President Volodymyr Zelensky, who stood alone as a courageous leader, at a time when Russian morale was so low. our politicians.In 2022, the white flag I have held in recent years represents peace.

The hero by Marina Abramović of Piccadilly Lights © Circa

This work is now a global call for new heroes. Now, heroes with white flags may arrive. They can come in many forms: pacifist, feminine, self -sacrificing, collective. The first thing you see on the screen is a woman on a horse. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that, next time, he will no longer be reincarnated as a man but as a woman. Finally. Women have a different kind of energy. But there is more to it. It has always been very important to create intense images. I can’t predict what each person is looking at The hero will be removed. As Marcel Duchamp said, the public needs to finish the work. Why this heroic posture, with the horse dominating the scene? Why is the landscape like this there? All this has no answer, I want the public to complete the work with their own interpretation, to see here their own ideas of heroism.

My first NFT

My favorite philosopher Noam Chomsky once said: “We should not be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.” For now, I think we need both. First, we must ask who can bring the solutions we need. Heroes — those who sacrifice everything — can bring new light to illuminate this world. These new heroes are the ones I set out to support, starting now. It’s really about finding solutions to these disasters. These solutions are why I am creating my first NFT collection, The Hero 25FPS. I never set out to create an NFT — it surprised me. Like all my previous presentations, there is always an element of risk involved. I haven’t done NFT in a while, because I need to find the right idea that really works. It was a new medium for me that I immediately thought of how to connect with some kind of history or performing arts.

The first thing that came to my mind was in 1959, when Yves Klein sold, on a bridge over the Seine, to his collectors. Immaterial Image Sensitivity Zone to achieve perfect materialization. This simple task involves the sale of empty space, in exchange for gold. If the buyer wishes, the piece can be completed with a detailed ritual in which the buyer burns the receipt, and Klein throws half the gold into the river. All that was left was ash in the river. If you also think of performance art, it’s always about immateriality. You can’t frame and hang a performance on the wall. In my opinion, this ritualistic moment ignited the concept and influenced me early on in my development as a performing artist.

I sell each individual frame of The hero (2001) as part of The Hero 25FPS, which represents frames per second. Like all my work, the audience completes the task. My first performance on the blockchain will invite people to purchase either a frame (.jpg) or a sequence of frames (.gif) to gain time. Subsequently, one percent will fund the new heroism. How? I invite people working within Web3 to submit ideas to nft.circa.art website. Ideas that beautify, better place in the world. People who show heroic vision will receive a grant in the coming months. I want to see what other ideas people have in this Web3 space to help save our planet. The grants we will award The Hero 25FPS is my little way of contributing to this future.

Marina Abramovic Photo: Marco Annelli © 2022

I don’t know what the hero grant winners will look like. I cast the net wide. Gavin Wood, who coined the term Web3 in 2014, said decentralized technologies were the only hope to save liberal democracy. We are beginning to see how they can make a difference in the world. Bail Bloc Project, an app developed by culture magazine The New Inquiry, allows anyone to volunteer with computing power to mine cryptocurrency used to pay for Americans without bail funds to get out of jail. I am interested to know about DAOs, “decentralized autonomous organizations” that are owned by members and clearly operate on the internet. One of these organizations, Cowgirl DAO raises funds for abortion rights by selling NFTs of cowgirl art. Starting in May in Dallas, in the work of photographer and artist Molly Dickson, it aims to challenge the horrific news of the Supreme Court’s fall in Roe v. Wade, and continue to provide access for all to abortion rights.

If Web3 projects can provide help to war victims, reunite prison-torn families, and restore access to reproductive health, I want to know what other heroes there might be. they are in the real world. I’ll tell the young kids of Web3, just don’t give up. Because you are the future. You have vision but it takes time for it to become a vision of greatness. It doesn’t happen overnight and can take a lot of work.

For me, the whole world has always been divided between two categories: the originals and the following. The originals are not only made up of artists, but scientists, doctors, fashion designers, film-makers, and writers, too. When I founded the Marina Abramović Institute it was dedicated to incubating a dialogue between science, art, technology and even spirituality, all of which was not material. Many originals make visible things but other practices — music, theater, and the study of the natural world — are not material. Today, we need people with this vision to create new ways of learning and art forms that have not yet been invented. We need people who can shed new light.

I said before that art will not save us. But ideas will save us. And art can contribute to the stimulation of these ideas. Strong photos will help. And a hardcore message. The rest I will leave tomorrow. I will never turn my back on art but I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead — and more. Art has always existed. Because humanity exists, art exists. Now, we need heroes.