Marina Abramovic has made an ad in collaboration with Adidas. In it, we see “the first-ever restaging” of her 1970s performance “Work Relation”. This performance divides workers in trench coats into groups conducting various methods of carrying stones. They learn that a chain of people allows people to labor the longest.
Let’s be clear, in the context of her body of work, this is one performance that never needed to be remade. We already know this shit. It is, however, made much worse in the context of an ad. The YouTube description positions the work in the context of advertising:
The 2014 execution of Abramović’s ‘Work Relation’ revisits these same themes of the original, while also paying tribute to adidas’ partnership with the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
This tribute happens in the form of performers wearing Adidas shoes, and the number of performers, 11, matching the number of players on a soccer team.
It’s so dumb, and it’s so opportunistic, that there seems little useful reflection about the “work” aside from identify where things took their grisly turn.
Can we all agree on moment in which Marina jumped the shark? Or has it been a slo-mo sequence of events that come together for shark jump?
— Carolina A. Miranda (@cmonstah) July 9, 2014
Was it the Lady Gaga ad? The Times Talk, the widely-publicized details of an elaborate multi-city funeral, or the Deitch banquet with nude performers served to the rich? The birthday party when she made all the guests learn the Argentinian tango and was the only one who could wear red? The Jay-Z collaboration? The HBO documentary, the opera, the Institute. It’s all promo now.
@cmonstah I think several sharks have been jumped.
— Stephen Persing (@StephenPersing) July 9, 2014
@cmonstah I’d say that ridiculous theatrical spin & bow she gave at the end of Artist is Present was a sign of things to come.
— Paddy Johnson (@artfcity) July 9, 2014
— Jeff Schroer (@Stottle) July 9, 2014