A peek at plans for the Marina Abramović Institute

Marina Abramovic Institute interior rendering

The plans include building a "white box" inside a former theater building (that was more recently used for tennis).

There's now a better look at the planned Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson -- a facility for "long-duration performance art" -- thanks to a new website for the project. The eponymous artist is well-known for this sort of this work, most famously for The Artist is Present at MoMA. And the Hudson facility -- which is being designed by an architectural team that includes Rem Koolhaas -- looks ambitious. In a video posted today, Abramović says she hopes it might "change the consciousness of our society today."

The website includes a bunch of renderings and information about the mission of the institute and other long-duration work. But the part that will probably bake your noodle is the presentation on the various aspects of the experience the institute intends to create. Among the parts:

+ A "contract" in which people pledge to spend at least six hours at the institute.

+ Visitors will be asked to leave behind watches, telephones, computers, and cameras -- they'll then be outfitted with lab coats and noise canceling headphones.

+ There will be various chambers: for drinking water, eye gazing, and so on.

+ A "blood bank" aiming to collect "250 drops of blood from the most influential scientists, artists, spiritual leaders, writers, philosophers, and musicians and to preserve a bank of these drops inside MAI."

+ A chamber devoted to Tesla.

+ Sleeping cocoons for people fall asleep during performances.

It all has the feeling of something from science fiction.

MAI is a $15 million project, according to its website. It's aiming to open in 2014.

[via @HudsonMusicFest]

image: OMA


This sounds so weird and I love it.

I have an irrational, inexplicable hatred of this project. Obviously, I need an attendant to wheel my mobile womb-unit over a crystal and learn how to slowly drink a glass of water over the course of six hours to relax a bit.

If this project ever does go through, within three years it will either turn into some kind of generalized multifunction arts facility (ie, it will be more conventional) or it will close and be converted into a bar. Hudson has a rich arts community but i just can't see this sort of specialized vanity project existing without a substantial amount of cash regularly flowing into it. Maybe if they offered spa treatments...

That blood bank is just weird, as if the drops of blood of geniuses and creatives are somehow essentially different than ordinary blood. Almost fetishistic. And why 250 drops of blood?

I agree with Eric that this is a vanity project by somebody with a ton of money to sink into it, but the audience is likely not there. Sooner or later it'll just be a piece of real estate on the market.

What is that? A long-duration performance art center for ANTS? How can we expect to change the consciousness of our society today if we can't even enter the building???

Seriously, even though I think this project sounds like a colossal money pit, the success of the Dia Center in Beacon (which has a lot of really wonderful experimental, large-scale modern art, and a huge amount of mindless garbage) shows me that there IS an audience for modern art in the Hudson Valley. Regardless of how you feel about modern art in particular, giving artists a venue to experiment and be free is generally a good thing, and it'll add even more cultural diversity to our region.

I don't have anything against modern art in general, but it sounds like something I'd read in The Onion. I expect that for a full experience the patrons will board a soundproofed blacked out isolation car in Penn Station. En route they will be swaddled and listen to electronically processed trance music. Arriving at the Hudson station the car will be detached from the train and shuttled to a private track which will deliver it directly to the Institute. An automatic scanner will read the patron's credit cards without any need to remove them from their wallets.

@SiobhanGK -- I love modern art. I even appreciate experimental art. But sometimes the emperor (or empress) has no clothes. When I said there was probably not an audience, I didn't mean not an audience for modern art generally. I meant not an audience for gimmicks. Also, this institute seems to have a lot of rules for a place that is supposed to foster experimentation. But it's possible the MAI can sustain itself as an elitist arts venue with private money.

They need a birth as performance art room. That would make this entire institutionalization experience way more accessible to the general public. It sounds like something that would appeal widely to K. Rainiere devotees.

I have to ask: wouldn't a bed made out of wood be called a table (as the renderings depict on the website)? how are the mineral pillows that everyone is pressing their "sex" into sanitized?

I have a BFA in dance and after being immersed in the world of fine arts (and wacky indulgence of eccentric people) for over 25 years I have a fair amount of irreverence this type of thing. I would fail upon entering this place: I cannot commit to subjecting myself to 6 full hours of this kind of bats***. Now give me my iphone and my watch back.

No shortage of weird stuff in the area. Can't wait to see it. Hopefully naysayers don't hinder the project.

If I fall asleep during a performance I want to be woken up so I can either: 1. apologize to the artist 2. demand my money back for a boring show.

Sleeping cocoons. Nice. Maybe the homeless can use them.

Yeah, they're going to have to charge their limited audience an ungodly amount of money to stay afloat.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Albany now has a better sense of how many vacant buildings it has -- and a common starting point for taking on the problem

What's been clear: The city of Albany has a lot of vacant buildings. What's not been clear: Exactly which buildings are vacant, and what's the... (more)

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats + The Head and the Heart at Brewery Ommegang

Another show this summer at Brewery Ommegang: Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats + The Head and the Heart on June 5. Tickets go on... (more)

The Decemberists at MASS MoCA

The Decemberists are set to play a show at MASS MoCA June 15. Tickets go on sale this Friday, January 19 -- they're $45 ahead... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Van Rensselaer Skating Park, the old burying grounds, killed by... (more)

More simple joys of a snowy day

We get actual winter in this part of the world. It's cold. It snows. (Sometimes it snow a lot.) And this time of year can... (more)