The last time artist Marina Abramović graced London’s Serpentine gallery, she performed for 512 hours – a performance so long you can almost still feel her presence within the gallery walls. Now, she returns with The Life, a 19-minute installation performance which renders Abramović in virtual reality. Using wearable augmented experience goggles, viewers are able to see Abramović as a digital sculpture as she floats in and out of the installation, her body flickering as if she’s coming from another dimension.
Abramović’s digital body in The Life looks so real it’s dizzying as viewers are forced to question their perception. To create the installation, the artist was shot by 36 cameras in an extensive capture process which rendered a moving photo representation of her body.
While art has long dabbled in augmented reality, The Life is the first exhibition of its kind to use mixed reality technology. Unlike AR, MR keeps the gallery space in view making the show immersive rather than purely fantastical.
The Life continues Abramović’s long obsession with durational performance art and material absence. Her fascination with these themes began when she trained for the military as a teen in Serbia and has persisted across her entire career through boundary-pushing performances that test the limits of the human mind and body. For Abramović, technology presents an opportunity to immortalise her spirit, something she has been trying to achieve through her work. “The fact that the project can be repeated anywhere in the world while I am not there is mind-blowing. I can be present in any spot on the planet,” Abramović says in the press release.