In our inaugural conversation of the "momentum" series, "How to consider time?", Andrea Pagnes (VestAndPage) talks with Boston-based performance artist Marilyn Arsem about nothing less than time. They touch upon the current state of waiting, consequent embodied cognition, and the feeling of being stuck in the infinite present. Thoughts wrap around how during the last months of the pandemic, the perception of time changed on a personal, artistic and social level, also with the appearance of so-called "time windows". The artists, who also practice long-durational performances, talk about time's unpredictability; how we inhabit absence with resilience, resistance and endurance; how to live with emptiness to recall what is essential. If the truth lies in the present moment, how to make one minute last forever? And how to turn loneliness into a creative matter, after all?
Pioneer performance artist Marilyn Arsem has been creating live events since 1975, ranging from solo performances to large scale, site-specific works incorporating installation and performance, presented worldwide. Significantly contributing to the contemporary arts landscape, Arsem is a defining figure in the field of performance art and has influenced generations of artists both in the US and internationally. Many of Arsem’s works are durational in nature, minimal in actions and materials, and focused on site-responsiveness. They are often made for audiences of a single person and respond to both the history of the site, as well as to the immediate landscape and materiality of the location. Her performances are designed to implicate the audience directly in the concerns of the work, to create an experience that is both visceral and intellectual. Time has always been a major concern in Arsem's work, but it became substantial after the early death of her husband, artist and photographer Bob Raymond. Since then, Arsem's long-durational live performances confront in a highly personal and forthright way the issues of presence within absence, solitude, stillness, endurance, resilience, and the passing of time. In 2012, Arsem started the series "Marking Time" to confront the emptiness of time, with the future as a void and a past that no longer exists.
Welcome to the momentum of December 4, 2020.