Everyone is the audience in some way or another. Regardless of the medium in which we explore and are attracted to – e.g. Twitter, documentaries, and Snapchat discover feature – we are all participants in and observers of, media. Traditional media such as radio and newspapers are slowly becoming outdated, with 44% of Australian’s using other media outlets, (i.e. the internet) to source information, and 39% saying they don’t trust traditional news sources.
With all this uncertainty surrounding the credibility of traditional news sources, people formerly known merely as ‘the audience’ – mindless, passive consumers – are turning to alternative news outlets they deem reliable; as well creating their own content to explore contemporary issues.
One of the most longstanding, interesting, creative, and insane forms of explorative content is performance art. This type of art is live, where the artist/s perform to an audience and involve them in their active discussion through movement and emotion.
Performance art has the ability to demonstrate immense meaning through sometimes confronting, controversial, and dramatic visual displays. However, it is through these non-traditional means that performance artists and their inclusive use of the audience can make larger political and social comments.
Marina Abramović is a famous performance artist renowned for her exploration of human emotions through daring pieces. By being so controversial, Abramović is able to catch people’s attention, thus gaining recognition for the themes which she explores. One of her most widely recognised ‘stunts’ was of the utmost simplicity, performed at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010…
She used this piece to make comment on the human connection, how nowadays people are so invested in themselves and their devices. By using this time to intensely engage with a complete stranger, Abramović and the audience defied the bounds of their societal context by removing external distractions and maintaining pure focus.
Her style contrasts to that of the traditional media, as she removes the barrier of a text-style medium to get her point across, using her body instead to create the same, if not a more powerful, message. Instead of reporting and writing about an issue, such as a growing concern in a lack of human connection, Abramović and the ‘audience’, actively demonstrate and combat the issue.
Another great example for those interested, is Yoko Ono’s ‘Cut Piece’, which explores people’s greed and ambition by placing Ono in complete vulnerability to the audience. The idea behind allowing people to cut off as much or as little amount of her clothes as they desired, demonstrated individual’s greed in a materialistic society.