Modus Vivendi (SD)
Marina Abramovic / Ulay, 1985, 24'26''

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The performance 'Modus Vivendi' took place in Arnhem, the Netherlands, in September 1985, and lasted for 58 minutes. The greater part of the video registration features Ulay alone. Dressed in black, he is lying on his back, on four cardboard boxes. He does not move, but, speaking out loud, he lists all the things he is going to do, or is planning to do: 'Rising, falling, touching, intending, bending, sitting, standing'. From his supine position, Ulay slowly sits up, and then, with his back to the viewer, stands up. A role of brown wrapping paper is hanging a few steps away from him. While walking towards it, he describes the walking movements of his legs. When he has reached the role of paper, he pulls it down. A large drawing of the skeletons of a pair of Siaese twins unfolds itself. Ulay lies down again, on the cardboard boxes. He keeps on telling us what he is doing, in a virtually monotonous voice, even when Abramovic appears. She stands on the left-hand side of Ulay, and, by means of a large piece of green fabric that is draped around her like a dress, she is tied to the tree that is standing next to her. She stands motionlessly, gazing in front of her, until, unexpectedly and abruptly, she throws her arms up into the air. Then, equally abruptly, the light goes out. In 'Modus Vivendi', Ulay and Abramovic demonstrate the three basic positions in which human beings constantly find themselves: lying, sitting and standing. The fourth possibility is moving or walking. The performance is also based on the Buddhist 'vipassana meditation', which concerns the four stages that have to be completed in life, from childhood to old age. This is the road that has to be travelled in life: the modus vivendi. Read more...

  • Date: 1985
  • Length: 24'26''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA