By Ben Fama
On Saturday, 3 August 2013, The Atlas Review, in cooperation with the Marina Abramovic Institute, hosted a long durational performance in the screening room of Brooklyn’s upscale Wythe Hotel. Under Marina’s instruction, more than 55 performers read Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris in its entirety. “Special guests” included Marina Abramovic, Neil Gaiman, and Lady Gaga.
Marina introduced the event by skyping in on a screen and relating an allegory about a shepherd walking beneath the stars. The shepherd taught Marina to close her eyes in order to listen better when talking to other people. Event staff then passed out white blindfolds and encouraged the audience to wear them for as much of the performance as they chose.
The first reader was Lady Gaga. Gaga provided a short video, which began with a flash of an image of herself, short hair falling in her eyes. The video went to black screen as she read the first page of the novel. The clip ended with a quick flash of the same image, a look I overheard someone else describe as a Mara-Rooney-Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo-esque. Other standouts included Lynne Tillman, Jennifer Tamayo (who performed with a megaphone), and Monica McClure who collaborated with dancer Cori Kresge.
Considering that Gaga appeared alongside Marina at the 20th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit just last Saturday, 27 July 2013, her participation here isn’t surprising.
Visit the Marina Abramovic Institute’s kickstarter page for additional information.
Ben Fama is the author of New Waves, Aquarius Rising, and the artist book Mall Witch. He is the co-editor of Wonder. His work has been featured and discussed in The Brooklyn Rail, Bomb Magazine, Action Yes, Jubilat, and on the Best American Poetry Blog. He lives in New York City.