Marina Abramović’s Rising (2018) addresses the effects of climate change by transporting viewers to witness rising sea levels.
Wearing an immersive headset, viewers enter an intimate virtual space, where they come face-to-face with the artist, who beckons from within a glass tank that is slowly filling with water from her waist to her neck.
Users are invited to make contact with the virtual Abramović, and then find themselves surrounded by a dramatic scene of melting polar ice caps. Abramović urges viewers to reconsider their impact on the world around them, asking them to choose whether or not to save her from drowning by pledging to support the environment, which lowers the water in the tank.
Abramović’s pioneering performance career has centred around time-based work, which uses both hers and the public’s body as a canvas. She has continually pushed the boundaries with durational work that has defined contemporary performance. With Rising, the artist’s presence is brought into another dimension.
To produce the artwork, Acute Art developers captured the artist’s unique facial expressions to create a realistic looking avatar of Abramović. Embracing new technology in an endeavour to transmit the presence of the artist virtually, Rising allows users to directly interact with the artist virtually from anywhere in the world.
Behind the Scenes with Marina Abramović
The celebrated performance artist reveals the process behind Rising, an interactive game that lets players to decide whether she, and the planet, survive
“When I was introduced to virtual reality, I understood the possibilities were enormous,” explains Marina Abramović. Renowned for her remarkable feats of physical endurance, the artist recognised the enormous potential of translating her practice to a new medium: “Whatever you can with your body, you as an avatar can do endlessly”.
Abramović collaborated with Acute Art to produce Rising, a powerful work that harnesses virtual reality technology to convey the devastating effects of climate change. “I created a video game that will present players with the opportunity to save lives in urban landscapes which have been radically altered by catastrophic flooding,” she explains.
Players will be given a choice: to save Abramović and the planet, or let both die. “I hope to explore whether immersive play will increase empathy for current and future victims of climate change, and how this will affect a player’s conscience and energy,” she explains. “In real life, when someone rescues another person or offers aid, there is a transfer of energy; both are affected by the experience. Will the same happen in virtual reality?”
This “dystopian world”, Abramović says, focuses on a subject that is increasingly urgent. “Some predictions say that, in just one hundred years, the human race will no longer exist on this planet. I want to address these issues.”
Marina Abramovic's Rising is now a mobile app
Abramović is launching an app called Rising, letting users make active choices to take better care of the environment daily actions. The app is commissioned by Nobel Media, and is released as a countdown to her participation during Nobel Week.
About Marina Abramović
Marina Abramović, RA, was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1946. She is known for pioneering performance art that tests the physical and mental limits of the human body, frequently inviting participation from an audience. Her most famous works include Rhythm 0 (1974), one of a series of Rhythm performances, which invited gallery visitors to interact with her body using 72 objects, including a loaded gun. In 2010, The Artist is Present became her longest performance to-date, staged as part of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The piece saw Abramović stare into the eyes of 1,545 visitors, and attracted overnight queues.
Abramović has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world, at institutions including: Kunsthalle, Vienn (2012); the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); and the Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern, Switzerland and La Gallera, Valencia, Spain (1998). Her work also featured in Documenta VI, VII and IX (1977, 1982 and 1922), and the Venice Biennale 1976 and 1997, the latter earning her the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade from 1965-70, and completed post-graduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1972. She has lived in New York since 2001.
Behind the scenes of Marina Abramovic’s Rising
The celebrated performance artist reveals the process behind Rising, an interactive game that lets players to decide whether she, and the planet, survive. “When I was introduced to virtual reality, I understood the possibilities were enormous,” explains Marina Abramović. Renowned for her remarkable feats of physical endurance, the artist recognised the enormous potential of translating […]
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