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Marina Abramović: Performance vs. acting

Video transcript
- For me it was huge surprise when you say to me, "I have to know James." Because you know, James is Hollywood actor. So how is he connected to performance in any way? And then I met him and I was very surprised. James, when we meet, that you knew about performance. - There is an incredible difference between acting and performing. Both of you talk very loud. Both of you are very present. You are a very performance-driven actor. And you are a very theatrical performer. I basically said, "James, you have to meet Marina "to understand that it's completely the opposite "of what you are doing." - It's true on one level, but this is also true on another level when you really act. And you get into this character in such a deep level that you become the character. And there's even danger that you lose yourself, like your person, your everything. And performance I can't. But in acting, you actually have to. - When I've heard you talk about your performances, although you're not playing a character there is kind of a performance mindset or something that you go into, right, where you can do things that normally, in your life, you're afraid of or that you don't normally do or that kind of thing, right? And that's a different, I think, a different kind of head space. - To me, the most interesting is this new element comes out. Kind of border between performance and acting. What's real; what's not real. So in a way, that creates new dialogue. That creates some new territory to explore. With theater and acting you create a distance which you don't create in performance. Performance is no distance. It's like, go to the bones. But to the theater you can actually play the character even as your own self, but you have the distance. - Does the kind of documentation become a consideration in pieces and that kind of thing? - Yeah, it used to be documentation. It used to be photographs, remaining objects, it used to be video and film. I think the new thing about this exhibition is it's really about re-performance. - [Klaus] So it's really about having a score, and having a person there for 2 1/2 hours, for one hour, for eight hours, and it's authorized. - Normally it would be just for the opening, maybe one performance and that's it. But now will be the full time, three months. That's really, I think, revolutionary. - I think the performances will be present as if they were a sculpture. - One of your rules with Ulay, and I think maybe for a lot of things you do, there's no rehearsal. Is that right? - [Marina] Yes. - So, to a certain extent you've set up a circumstance, but then the situation itself kind of imposes itself on you, right? You don't know exactly what's going to happen. And... - Yeah, is new as for me as the public watching it. And that's kind of credible fresh because there's no rehearsal. But there's another reason why I can't rehearse. Because I will never have that kind of stamina. Because public give you this extra energy. If I rehearse any of these pieces, in half of the piece I will say, "I can't do it." I think the same does it when you really do live acting, with the front of public theater. There's something with the public that gives you this extra thing. This is going on for three months. And it's really endurance kind of experiment. And actors are not used to this. And how this time change you because if you will do something for three months I don't know if it's acting anymore; become real life. - But in many aspects of Marina's shows are complete experiment. So I think we are both a bit nervous and intensely curious because it's an experiment. But every experiment you do it and then you don't know the outcome. So... - Because in the end they really can say "Okay, we done it." But we don't know yet.