Serbia-born, NYC-based artist Marina Abramovic is set to open a huge multi-purpose art space in Montenegro. The new ‘Marina Abramovic Community Center Obod Centinje’ will be located in a old refrigerator factory which is made up of dozens of large industrial halls. The team from Dazed Digital recently caught up with Abramovic during the recent 54th Venice Biennale to discuss the plans, check out the interview below.
Dazed Digital: This new project seems enormous in scale, what ideas is it generating for you?
Marina Abramovic: I have this possibility now to have my dream become true, to invite artists that I believe in from all different areas. I have no limits now it is such a huge space, I can have a performer’s universe, a place which I believe in and will put my own life into it. It is so overwhelming and i’m thinking of 10 years of my life that I want to dedicate to it.
Of course there is a huge infrastructure that you have to build, and I am busy with the general idea and aspects, but then there are lots of other parts – economical, where you employ people from the place itself, who live there and can create some kind of small industry which can actually support the mechanism. And we need a certain amount of money, and to be very frank with you we need around a 100 million Euro to create this project. So we will have to do it in parts, in September we have a renowned architect who will start to create this complex, and add new elements.
DD: How do you envision the MACCOC as different from the ubiquitous white cube exhibition space, or the traditional black box of theater?
Marina Abramovic: It is a very different concept. First of all it will be multi-use, with many different objectives. For example, we would really like to bring the film industry there to make movies. Its an amazing landscape outside of the center and also we have these enormous halls which would be very easy to adapt to create huge film sets. I would like to invite different people – I have in mind; Abel Ferrara, Darren Aronofsky, James Franco – the one person who I think has invented an entire new language in cinema is David Lynch. I am interested in these people, not those who are just creating mainstream hollywood bullshit.
DD: You have a new production,The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, opening at the Manchester International Festival – I am curious how you approach the process of theater versus performance art?
Marina Abramovic: You see it is very different, the only theater piece I ever did in my life, was the theater of my life. I started already in 1989 with Ulay [her former partner in performance], when I was walking on the Chinese Wall, walking towards each other to say goodbye [The Great Wall Walk, 1988]. I really had so much pain both personally and professionally that I wanted to stage my pain in a theater space, which I always hated. I never liked theater. You know if your a performance artist, if your young, you have to hate theater. Now I’m not young any more so I tolerate theater. But at the same time the theater took so many elements of performance art itself, and has become very different.
DD: How does your role in the play differ from your performance practice?
Marina Abramovic: The play is a unique piece of my life, and I always work with different theater directors. This time it will be from a new director, who directs me. I give him all material and I have no control over it. He can re-edit it how he wants, he can stay chronologically if he wants, he can take out things he doesn’t like, put in other things he likes from my life; so that my life always looks new to me. And the idea is by giving up total control in the theater I have complete control in performance. But in the theater there is no control.
Read the full interview here.