Freeing the Voice
Marina Abramovic, 1976, 37'55''

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The premise of 'Freeing the Voice' is simple: screaming until the voice is lost. It was performed in Budapest in 1976. In the video recording, we see Abramovic lying on her back and tilting her head back so the audience and the camera have her face in full view. With her mouth open wide, she produces an uninterrupted, wordless scream. At first it seems a cry for help, then becomes more introverted, then hysterical. Abramovic appeals to our intuitive desire to respond to a scream. Before an audience, she confidently tests her own strength, both physical and mental. Then her voice falters, turns to heavy breathing and finally dies down. The body has been emptied; the mind follows. Abramovic said later: 'When you are screaming in this way, without interruption, a first you recognize your own voice, but later, when you are pushing against your own limits, the voice turns into a sound object.' The voice seems to be breaking free from the body, filling the space independently. By putting her body to the test and exploring the relationship between mind and body, Abramovic tries to rediscover the experience of naturalness, spirituality and pure sensitivity; those human experiences that we have lost to the predisposition of contemporary culture to materialism and technology. The video is also part of the 16-channel installation 'Video Portrait Gallery' (Abramovic 1975-2002). Read more...

  • Date: 1976
  • Length: 37'55''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: body art, performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: registration (technique), body, communication, freedom/liberation, sound (subject)