Marina Abramovic and Ulay: Modus Vivendi (Artists-in-Residence)

Black and white image of large scale polaroids of figures posed as Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Installation view, Modus Vivendi, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 1985.

Reference Gallery
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Marina Abramović
Ulay Modus
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European multimedia artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay are Artists-in-Residence at The List Visual Arts Center’s Reference Gallery for a month in winter 1986. They have collaborated in performance, installation, photography, video, and film work since 1975. They now reside in Amsterdam. 

Discussing their installation, curator Dana Friis-Hansen wrote: “[Their] Polaroid process has particular significance as a medium for the extension of their work. Sharing the immediacy of the live event and the instant return of video, this series again reveals the artists’ sophisticated dexterity in focusing their energies, intellectual and spiritual, to seize the moment.”

In addition, the artists have completed the third a series of videotapes, “Continental Video Series,” each a response to the particularities of place and culture. Terminal Garden (1986, 22:30 minutes), was produced during their residency at the List Center and represents the North American Continent. The title takes its name from the student slang used in MIT’s Media Lab. In this work, the artists combined images of children at computers with a computer-synthesized voice “speaking” phrases adopted by the artists from American television and magazine advertising and 17th-century Hindu lyrics. The two previous works in the series are City of Angels (1983, 20 minutes), created at the temple of Ayuta near Bangkok, Thailand, and Terra Delgi Dea Madre (1984, 16 minutes), produced in Sicily.


Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s residency was organized by the Committee on the Visual Arts (CVA) and is funded by the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities.