I’m a bit late commenting on this, but I’ve been plotting this post ever since I saw the story over at hyperallergic.com about Marina Abramović’s plan for the Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. Abramovicć’s plan is to build the Institute in the Hudson Valley, including a school to educate visitors in the “Abramović method.” As Jillian Steinhauer describes,
“Visitors will be schooled in the Abramović Method, which blurs the line between audience and artist by turning spectators into performers themselves. Upon arriving at the institute, visitors will don white lab coats, check their belongings, sign a contract — “Give me your word of honor that you’ll spend two and a half hours in the exhibit,” is how Abramović explained the current version, at an exhibition at PAC in Milan — and then move through the different experiences and rooms, receiving a certificate of completion at the end.”
Since my own kids recently attended summer camp, this got me thinking: what would the Abramović summer sleep-away camp look like? Without further ado, then, here’s a (totally fictional, only intended for humor, and not approved by or connected with anyone associated with Abramović, inc.) line-up of what you would expect at Camp Abramović’s Methods for Performing Youth aka, CAMPY.
Way of the knife: This foundational activity includes basic knife skills–stabbing, regulating knife speed, sharpening, choosing the proper knife for its aesthetic properties–and, of course, basic first aid. (Recording equipment is optional, but encouraged.)
Cooking skills: Here campers learn the basics of performance meal preparation, including how to eat whole jars of honey, what kinds of wine are most appropriate for endurance events, and a beginner’s guide to fasting.
Lawn games: What would summer camp be without games? Campers learn valuable social skills practicing trust by manipulating each other with dangerous objects, maintaining endurance poses in public, and running repeatedly in circles. (May include some basic fertility rites. As always, clothing is optional.)
Photography (aka, if a tree falls in the forest…): Here, campers learn the basics of recording, repeating, and re-enacting. Working in small groups, campers explore ways to capture the essence of their performances on film, video, and in still images while simultaneously acknowledging that the performance cannot be fully realized in such methods. Campers will enjoy the sense of accomplishment in an end-of-the week film festival/campfire before returning all copies of the documentation and signing over all copyrights to CAMPY. (Any attempt to make or distribute unauthorized copies will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.)
Performance art summer camp. What could be more CAMPY?