Marina Abramović Institute Takeover:
Adelaide Festival
The Space Theatre and its surroundings will become a home to explore durational performance at this Festival. Curated by Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), artists from Australia, neighbouring countries and beyond are invited to create site-specific, long-durational projects.
01-04 March 2024

Space Theatre and surrounds
Fri 1 Mar 12pm – midnight (Mike Parr performs only on this evening from 12pm - 12am)
Sat 2 Mar 12pm – 8pm (Li Binyuan performs on this evening from 4pm-12am)
Sun 3 Mar 11am – 4pm
Mon 4 Mar 12pm – 8pm
Marina Abramović
Collective Absentia
Li Binyuan
Yingmei Duan
SJ Norman
Eric Avery
Mark Temple
Mike Parr
Indigo Perry
Melati Suryodarmo
Christian Thompson
FESTIVAL WEBSITEWatch the recording of Mike Parr's performance
The Space Theatre and its surroundings will become a home to explore the impact of durational performance. The central concept in long durational work is time whereby the meanings of beginning, middle, and end are altered. The work of art can take on epic proportions, to explore themes relating to the human condition. Both artists and participants are profoundly affected and in some ways emerge transformed by this experience.

Curated by Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), the following artists from Australia, neighbouring countries and beyond were invited to create site-specific, long-durational projects:

Marina Abramović (appearing digitally)
Collective Absentia
Li Binyuan (performing March 2 and 3 only)
Yingmei Duan
SJ Norman in collaboration with Eric Avery and Mark Temple
Mike Parr (performing Friday 1 March only)
Indigo Perry
Melati Suryodarmo
Christian Thompson

These artists will engage with endurance, presence and participation, creating an infinite possibility of encounters between visitors and artists. Visitors are encouraged to explore the various spaces, not just observe, and to return over the course of the project to track the changes and surprises in the evolving, long-durational pieces.

Collective Absentia
Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future: Our Glorious Spring
Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future is an ongoing performance by Collective Absentia. Conceived and developed around 2011, the performance mainly involves a series of durational works performed at different sites inside and outside Myanmar. Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future: Our Glorious Spring is a durational performance that aims to meditate on the agency and potency of non-violence actions as a form of resistance. In so doing, the performance attempts to explore the history of political violence in Burma/Myanmar from its precolonial time to the present day without replicating and/or glorifying any form of explicit violent actions committed by both the oppressors and the oppressed or portrayed in the media or by the art community. This performance is dedicated to the ungrievable deaths due to the ongoing political violence in Burma/Myanmar since 1948.
Li Binyuan (appearing Saturday 2 March only)
In the work of Breakdown, Li Binyuan climbs up a monument-like pillar, standing on this nearly 4-meter-high pillar. Using the hammer in his hand, he slowly strikes and disintegrates the pillar under his feet, with almost no rest in between: during the continuous tapping process, his own body also gradually disintegrates and disappears with the brick pillar, slowly falling back to the ground.
Li Binyuan's performance exudes qualities of epic poetry with the artist as a sole character. Throughout his works, his body is always presented alone, showing extreme fatigue after performing repetitive actions, and the body eventually fails and collapses before the unbreakable "reality.” This theme is allusive to the artist’s background in his studies as a sculptor where his body becomes the physical statue. The body, in fact, acts as a "material" that gets shaped by confrontations with reality, and the invisible rules and regulations wrapped outside the body are forced to appear.
Yingmei Duan
Yingmei in Wonderland
Since 2005, both interaction and collaboration have been central themes in Yingmei Duan's performance art. Duan presents a series of performances, which will change each day or multiple times in a day, focused on interaction with audiences, the other artists, and the theater space. Through seemingly simple actions, Duan will embody different characters, exploring forms of encounter and play to evoke a sense of innocence, nostalgia, absurdity, and humor.
SJ Norman
Artistic team:
Devised by SJ Norman, in consultation with Dr. Mark Temple, School of Science, Western Sydney University
Performed by Eric Avery
For this newly commissioned work premiering at Adelaide Festival, Wiradjuri/Ngyiampaa artist SJ Norman has worked with Ngyiampaa/Yuin/Gumbangirr musician and composer Eric Avery to bring the DNA sequences of various Australian bird species into sonic life. Norman and Avery worked with musician and Molecular Biologist Dr Mark Temple, utilizing the system of DNA sonification he developed, to devise a series of spare musical compositions, the notes of each corresponding to the DNA annotations for each species. Throughout the course of each day of the performance, Avery will play the scores, filling the space with the sound of each bird’s dreaming data, marking the progression of the day- from the Kookaburra in the early morning, to the afternoon call of the Australian Raven.

Mike Parr (appearing Friday 1 March only)
Portrait of Marina Abramović
Portrait of Marina Abramović is a continuation of a series of blind painting performances, which Mike Parr started to create in 2019. Parr’s blindness is self-imposed with the artist performing with his eyes closed from the moment of entering to the moment of exiting the performance. He will never see the work. Blind painting is an attempt at nothingness and creation and toward an ending and rebirth.
For 12 hours, Parr will paint 4 black squares and then 4 red squares over black squares followed again by black squares over red squares. He will repeat this alternating pattern working across a large-scale structure in Space Theatre. The black refers to Kazimir Malevich, whose Black Square (1915) embodied a refusal of Western painting, while the red references Abramović’s use of red in association with her ex-Yugslavian communist background. In this action, Parr is interested in the complexity and tensions in art’s ambiguity, performativity, and afterlives.
The work is performed with Gotaro Uematsu, Zan Wimbley, Timothy Vernon Moore, Rebecca Anne Khoury and Lauren Brincat.
Watch the recording of Mike Parr's performance
Indigo Perry
I will write you out of water
As I remember it, her body turns to metal. The front of her torso is a carapace, black and thunderhead-grey with bursts of sun-bronze. Moving parts clank when she runs. Keys rise and fall. Hammers pound text into the air. A streetlight figures her passing body in the way of a camera flash or a flare of lightning. Then, she flies. In the silver of the downpour, she strobes for a micro-second before she breaks that rain-pebbled surface and goes under. This work began in Amsterdam at the Royal Theatre Carré, the site of a grand circus in the 1700s. Now the story flows on at the Adelaide Festival. There is a missing woman who was seen to disappear on the last night of the show in Amsterdam. The writer-performer quietly searches for the missing woman as she roams all the spaces of the MAI Takeover, observing, conversing, asking questions, making notes, writing her drafts. She is an interloper who might show herself anywhere. A ubiquitous presence, she gathers her material and writes her ongoing story of loss, grief, tropes of water and drowning, and the deeply elongated swirls of mourning time.
Melati Suryodarmo
Amnesia transcends the boundaries as a profound and deeply personal exploration. Amnesia serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the fundamental right to self-determination. Through the enigmatic reconstruction of scattered memories, this performance art piece intimately engages with the personal histories of individuals, crafting an immersive environment that echoes the complexities of human relationships with the unspoken and neglected chapters of history. Suryodarmo's long durational performance confronts the fragmented remnants of human experience, offering a mysterious space for audiences to engage with the untold narratives and forgotten realities of the past. Amnesia stands as a poignant testament to the enduring power of memory and the deeply personal journey of piecing together the fragments of our shared history.
Christian Thompson
Wait in Gold
Wait in Gold is a durational performance inspired in part by the work of my late supervisor Professor Brian Catling RA at the University of Oxford. A performance of Brian’s has always stayed with me, a work titled ‘Mr Rapehead’ 2010 at the ICA in London, in which Catling covers his head In flashing lights, personal security alarms until his head becomes a flashing light / Cyclops in the darkness manipulating spaces by interrogating them with threats of violence and humour. Wait in Gold embraces a similar transformative and interrogative principle as homage. Much of my own work comes through a process of auto ethnography, connecting my own experience to larger, social, cultural and political meanings and understandings. In light of the recent referendum outcome I have been thinking a lot about this idea of voice or being denied a voice.
Expanding upon my oeuvre and the floral motif present throughout my practice Wait in Gold makes reference to these ideas of visibility and invisibility, being seen and not seen, the burden of colonisation has been placed on us to weigh us down. In this work I slowly pin tiny gold flowers to myself as I transform from human figure into an opulent flower form, unifying man with nature and First Nations people with the enduring connection to our lands, recoiling into the safety of our country as the oldest continuing culture on earth.

Photo Credits: Andrew Beveridge