Douglas E. Christie Loyola Marymount University A woman is seated in a chair at the center of a large, light-filled atrium. Across from her sits an adolescent girl, Asian or Asian-American, maybe thirteen years old. They are both perfectly still. They look intently at each other. That is all. Minute after minute passes. Neither of them moves. I look more closely. Utter stillness. Not quite repose, for there is a sense of intentionality to their engagement with each other, but deep stillness and calm. I look around the room and see a hundred or so persons also taking in the scene. Everyone is silent, though there are occasional sounds--shoes shuffling on the floor, a cough, a sigh. It takes me a few minutes to understand what is going on, what I am seeing. I feel my own anxiety to place myself somehow in this scene, to find the appropriate categories for grasping what is unfolding before me. I ask a person nearby; he tells me: it's Marina Abramovic. She is performing "The Artist Is Present," part of a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.1 "Oh," I say, "thanks." It's performance
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
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